Movie Review: 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE – An Amazing Spin on an Existing Franchise
10 Cloverfield Lane is a Drama / Mystery Thriller that is a standalone film and a spinoff to 2008’s Cloverfield. I have not seen Cloverfield but i have heard quite a bit about it since its release 8 years ago. But really, you don’t need to know a thing about Cloverfield to see this film. If you have seen Cloverfield then i guess you kinda know what you are dealing with here, but if you haven’t seen the film, this spinoff is a fantastic standalone film that i can tell you had my full uninterrupted attention. This was a fantastic movie that was intense, dramatic, and had a tinge of humour thrown in there, i was completely engaged and on the edge of my seat the whole time. It was very well crafted in many departments and was backed by three absolutely perfect performances.
The pacing of this film was pretty much perfect for most of the film, it slowly builds to some big moments and when not much is happening, it keeps you in the film with a clever use of music and a creepy score. There was a 5-10 minute section of the film in the middle that did start to drag but it quickly moved along to some more juicy material. I gotta also note that the dialogue in this film was on point. It is so easy to write cheesy dialogue that is clearly just actors reading off a script, but they managed to have really interesting dialogue so that you completely buy into the conversations they are having. The 3 main characters are also very grounded and fully fleshed out, and that was done amazingly in a short amount of time, getting it out of the way quickly. You really learn to love these characters or love to hate them, and that is because of the great writing in the film. But it is also down to the 3, absolutely, fan-fucking-tastic performances leading this film.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, and John Gallagher Jr. were just downright amazing in this film and were 110% committed to their roles. Winstead and Goodman in particular elevated this film so much with their performances, it would not have been anywhere near as good with anyone else. The back and forth between those two made the film so much more intense and dramatic and added a lot of weight to certain parts of the film. The visual style of the film and the cinematography are also something to note because it was beautiful. The way the film was shot in this bunker made every scene a little bit more appealing to watch. It won’t be winning any awards but it was a surprising highlight of the film.
So, a little warning, VERY MINOR spoilers ahead (NOTHING PLOT RELATED)
One last thing that i absolutely have to talk about is the amazing way in which this film handled being part of an existing franchise but at the same time being its own thing, and how this could be the beginning of a revolution in filmmaking regarding spinoffs and standalone films. As you may already know, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a spinoff from 2008’s Cloverfield and unlike other spinoffs it wasn’t concerned with trying to connect itself to the universe every 5-10 minutes. It just went and did its own thing, told its own story whilst still being in the same world. Really, if you didn’t know it was connected to Cloverfield going in, you won’t walk away being confused and left ‘out of the loop’. This film very much stands completely on its own and isn’t restricted by having to conform to what the previous film set for it.
This is the PERFECT way to create new and interesting ideas within a franchise to avoid becoming repetitive to the point where no-one is interested in the franchise anymore. Look at the genre’s of these two films for example, Cloverfield was an Action/Adventure/Horror filmed as a found footage film, and this is a Drama/Mystery Thriller that took the franchise in a completely new direction. I still haven’t seen Cloverfield but i want to see more standalone films set in this same world to see what they can do to change it up every time. I can only hope that more franchises see the success of this film and introduce similar ideas within their worlds. The only thing i think would stand in the way of this becoming a common sight in Hollywood is if a studio tries it and completely fucks it up that will turn off other studios from trying it. But i hope that doesn’t happen and we get more films that take a similar approach to this one.