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10 Cloverfield Lane

Just three people in a room, but you’d be surprised how many twists and turns there are

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If you’re interested in seeing 10 Cloverfield Lane, which is a nifty little thriller — a grade-A B-movie — just go now. Don’t read any further — the less you know, the better.

The film opens with Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) leaving her home, driving down some lonely Louisiana road in the dark and having a bad car accident. 

When she awakes, she’s in a cinderblock room in an underground bunker. The bunker’s owner, Howard (John Goodman), claims to have rescued her from the accident, and subsequently saved her life by bringing her into the bunker. Aboveground, he says, there has been a catastrophic and potentially poisonous attack. The bunker’s other resident, a young man named Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), confirms something weird has happened. And so they’re stuck underground together, an ad hoc “family” of strangers.

First-time director Dan Trachtenberg finds much traction in this locked-room mystery — well, a couple of mysteries: What exactly is going on, who are these people and how is this going to end? Nearly every minute of the film takes place within the bunker, and viewers will feel the claustrophobia as well as the tension that waxes and wanes. Just three people in a room, but you’d be surprised how many twists and turns there are. Having Goodman in the saddle is a huge asset — his Howard is perfectly abnormally normal — and Winstead holds her own as a feisty protagonist.


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