’10 Cloverfield Lane’ full of suspense, secrets

Pamela Stevens, Staff Writer

Writing a review of “10 Cloverfield Lane” presents a precarious path for any writer desiring to prompt readers to run out and see this gem of a film while also not wanting to spoil any of the surprises that J.J. Abram’s production company Bad Robot painstakingly kept secret during the films creation.

Filmed under the title Valencia, “10 Cloverfield Lane” was quietly made as a semi-sequel to its predecessor, the alien invasion thriller “Cloverfield.”

The film opens with Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) running away from her fiancée (voiced over the phone by Bradley Cooper), when she is suddenly involved in a violent car crash and wakes up to find herself in an underground bunker, chained to a wall with her accident wounds bandaged up.

Logically, she assumes that she has been kidnapped until Howard Stambler, portrayed beautifully by the ever-talented John Goodman, informs her that there has been an attack on the world and that he brought her to his underground bunker to save her both from her accident and the attack.

Michelle and the audience can never be certain of Stambler, a Louisianan survivalist, as he explains that the world above may be uninhabitable for at least a year, possibly two. She must discern if he is completely unhinged, or simply a generous man who is kindly sharing his preparedness with a stranger.

In his first feature length film, director Dan Trachtenberg, masterfully keeps increasing the level of suspense and intrigue throughout the film. He keeps the viewpoint firmly on Michelle who is just as in the dark as the audience as to the truth of the situation unfolding, both in the world above ground as well as within the bunker. Every scene creates more tension and mystery as Michelle continually pushes her own emotional strength and cunning in a claustrophobic space with a physically imposing man.

With a ninety percent Rotten Tomatoes rating, “10 Cloverfield Lane” has impressed critics and viewers alike. A carefully orchestrated film all its own, but even more intriguing as a sequel that keeps the audience on edge as they anxiously await learning how the two films will eventually converge.