10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (2016)
Loved it. What makes it work is maintaining a limited perspective so that you only know what Michelle knows. As soon as the car wreck happens, you discover her predicament and the world as she does.
Coupled with a few good twists – when we actually see a woman infected and trying to get in flips the story on its head, then back when we realize Howard likely kidnapped and killed a girl, when Howard kills the other guy, and when it turns out to actually be aliens – it makes for a super fun ride.
It never comes off as too clever or “gotcha” because it’s just slowly revealing information – done expertly.
It reminds me of SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED in that the end reveals that the films universe is the most fantastical of all the options. In both we assume we’re in some sort of familiar reality based on our world and the climax says in fact this is a scifi universe. In theory it seems manipulative but in practice it feels spectacular and satisfying – instead of having some super complex logic for explaining the circumstances, it’s revealed that the circumstances themselves are extraordinary. In that way I think the audience feels respected and not like they’re watching a film that’s a magic trick than then explains itself.
The climax of this had me so wrapped up. From the point where Howard shoots the other guy until the end it was flawless. What I loved is that it wasn’t just the climax and resolution but it was also continuing and revealing more story information – so it was gripping on multiple levels. “Will she get away!?” “Oh shit it’s aliens!?”
I’m not sure if there’s any relation to CLOVERFIELD – another alien movie. Or if this was its spiritual prequel. If no relation the title seems like a strange choice.
I love Howard’s arc of going from crazy to not crazy back to crazy then to extra crazy and dangerous.
Some nice character development too that doesn’t feel heavy handed – Michelle at the end decides to stay and fight instead of run away, which is what she always did in the past.
I forget how much fun a great thriller can be.