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10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

March 12th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 11 Comments

I promise I’m not going to give anything away. I was almost going to skip reviewing 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE altogether until I realized I was suffering from some kind of Stockholm Syndrome and that the clever marketing of this flick had hypnotized me into thinking that mum’s the word…or else. I have to admit though that there was something so luxurious about seeing a movie cold and knowing next to zero about it. I for one try to make a point of NOT following the horror news sites. I feel like they are constantly ruining things for me and I miss the old days before the Internet when movies held more mystique. Still, I’d be lying if I said my assumptions about this movie were that far off the mark. It followed the psychic map in my head pretty closely but don’t worry there’s still a treasure trove of worthwhile surprises.

JOHN GOODMAN, JOHN GOODMAN, JOHN GOODMAN. The man is a marvel. I just want to thank this flick right off the bat for fully utilizing this incredible actor’s talent. This could very well be his best role. He’s like this giant spinning disco ball reflecting every possible color in the emotional spectrum. Ya love him, you hate him, he’s endearing, he’s terrifying; the only thing constant is his brilliance. And there’s probably not many young actresses who could hold their own and not disappear in GOODMAN’s presence but MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD is up to the task and then some. I like her, she’s got an earthy tomboy next door thing going on that reminds me of some of my favorite seventies actresses (and I hope this role leads folks to give 2011’s THE THING a more open-minded chance). The third major player is JOHN GALLAGHER, JR. and he’s remarkably real and engaging too. Geez, I was just saying in that PIN post the other day that I was hungry for some satisfying genre characters and here they are! These are people I do not mind being trapped with. There’s a kind of clubhouse vibe going on for much of the movie that made me wish it would never end. Why does the song “I Think We’re Alone Now?” have to be so short? If you are a montage fetishist like myself, get ready for ambrosia.

And now for the not so good news. In the near future, you’re probably going to hear a dissenting minority bitching about the film’s ending. Count me among those sad crabapples. The ending in no way nullifies the precision nail-biting suspense and noble character building that came before it but it still feels like gilding a lily to me. It’s slightly off and somehow wrong like MERYL STREEP eating a McRibb. Without ruining anything, lets just say hypothetically that the ending involves a jar of pickles, for some reason this movie goes out of its way to feature a generic, store brand jar of pickles. I don’t get it when they could have lost zero face and just handed over the name brand jar of pickles the audience is clearly craving. Even I, whose motto is usually “screw the audience” feels the poor saps should be thrown a bone (or at least something above a bobo brand of pickles) once in a while. I get that no means no when it comes to a movie delivering on the goods that it alluded to even in its title but something about this withholding feels vaguely stingy to me.

It’s no biggie, the flick is still better than anyone has the right to expect in most departments; it’s just that these days when all one has to do is wait a couple months to see something at home at literally a 90 % discount they might want to know what they’re getting into. My theater was even offering this movie in IMAX for a few extra bucks which is kind of nuts considering it’s as fish-tank constrained as LIFEBOAT (1944) , ROPE (1988) or COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN (1982) for nine tenths of its runtime. Oh well, its still a nail-biting hoot and a half and the acting is indeed worth the price of admission alone but…is it really so difficult to hand over the pickles? I know my opinion holds zero value in the world but I feel its my duty to share with anyone else who might have moths flying out of their wallet that my favorite scene in the whole flick involves the assembly of a jigsaw puzzle. Do with that information what you will. Anyway this movie is super great until it slips slightly and becomes only super good.

Tags: General Horror

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 gilligNo Gravatar // Mar 12, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Nice write-up, except I was quite happy with my pickles. No expectations led to no disappointment for me. And frankly, the slam bang nature of the last 20 minutes had me giddy with laughter, gripping the seat arms and wondering what was next for our heroine. And John Goodman… It’s too bad genre performances are generally unrecognized in the awards arena because he was perfection.

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 12, 2016 at 6:27 pm


    I agree about Goodman being perfection. He was just so spot on and he never took it too far, it was perfectly balanced. I’m glad you liked the pickles. I kind of wish they were scarier pickles and I gotta say the Molotov cocktail part was just way too comic book outrageous for me after how grounded everything else was. Still, I had a great time and could have just stayed in that bunker forever. I wish that could be a TV series of some sort. It’s such a cool place for a shut in like me (but he really should have had a PS2 as well). Did you catch the “Cannibal Airlines” VHS tape? I loved that.

    And I loved when MEW kicked over the bucket. That whole scene had me on the edge of my seat!

  • 3 jen3rabbitsNo Gravatar // Mar 15, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I really enjoyed 10 Cloverfield Lane. I was hoping for it to be a direct sequel to Cloverfield, but everything I heard was preparing me that it might not be. I thought the suspense was great. Goodman was excellent. And as a costumer, I’m really excited that one of my only skills might come in handy in the apocalypse!

    Like Gillig below, I had a huge smile plastered on my face for the last 20 minutes.

    My boyfriend, however, was really, really let down by the “generic pickles”. All his hopes were built on getting the real brand name pickles. He likened this to another horror sequel (a part 3). Which I reminded him is now somewhat of a classic, so don’t judge Cloverfield Lane too harshly now!

  • 4 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 15, 2016 at 11:18 am


    I’m thinking 10 Cloverfield Lane will indeed become a classic. There’s just so much great re-watch value and so many cool little details. I’m starting to come to terms with the ending but I still wish that if they were not going to show the pickles expected then they should have pushed to provide superior pickles? I think maybe I wasn’t a fan of the pickle design on a aesthetic level.

    I was very much a fan of the rubber ducky and duct tape hazmat suit! That concept should take the runways by storm soon!

  • 5 jen3rabbitsNo Gravatar // Mar 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    I kind of want to see if they sell that same shower curtain and make myself one!

  • 6 Ben SNo Gravatar // Mar 18, 2016 at 1:59 am

    I rushed home from the theater to read your review the way that nerds must have rushed to their New Yorkers to read Pauline Kael’s review of THE GODFATHER.

    I’m torn as to what I think about the finale of this movie. I actually never saw the original, so it’s possible that I was less let down by the generic pickles because I’ve never had name brand pickles.

    The movie kind of reminded me of SUSPIRIA, in that the only thing more terrifying than it’s last 12 minutes, were it’s first 92. And actually, the last 12 minutes aren’t terrifying at all. But the first 92 are SO terrifying that I can accept it because it’s still beautiful and fun, and maybe our heroine deserves to be in a joyful creature feature for a while, and have things tie up for her a little too easily.

    Part of me thinks it’s bizarre that they’re showing this on IMAX screens. But, between this and THE HATEFUL EIGHT, I love this statement that filmmakers seem to be making: That tiny movies can still be beautifully shot enough to warrant a hugely majestic screen, and that the human face can be as spectacular as the vista of another world or a grand explosion.

    John Goodman’s performance in the movie is so phenomenal that I think it’s probably good that it happened late in his career. If it had happened early in his career, I suspect that it would have had such an impact that he never would have gotten any good guy roles (like the guy who played Buffalo Bill–although he was nice in RACHEL GETTING MARRIED).

    Overall, I’m alternately ambivalent about the ending and suspect I wouldn’t change it. I think the movie might be a classic. And I agree with you that Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a final girl for the ages! Her performance DID make me want to watch the remake of THE THING! The world needed a great final girl and a new great actress named Mary with three names. Can you believe we got them both?!

    Even though it can be hard to be alive, it is also good. Also, should I get a PS2? I haven’t had a video game system since Nintendo 1984.

  • 7 Ben SNo Gravatar // Mar 18, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Also I know the difference between it’s and its. The internet encouraging me to write faster than I think is ruining me.

  • 8 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 18, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Ben S,

    Don’t worry the comments section is a punctuation free zone and I would have never noticed anyway!

    I’m starting to wish this great movie had zero connection to the first Cloverfield. I think I did a pretty good job of taking it in on its own terms but there was still a little part of me looking for connecting threads that should not have been operating at all.

    That said, I still didn’t like the look of the pickles as a matter of taste. I wish they were spider pickles or more Lovecrafty.

    And I had a real desire to see tons of pickles all over the place when the lightening struck and lit up the sky at the final moment.

    I’m just be knit-picking. These are things that will probably evaporate the more I watch the movie. I guess the most important thing to me these days is re-watch value. This seems like a movie that I can return to again and again. And I don’t mind having a little friction with a movie. If it’s a smooth admiration, that can be boring.

    I LOVE MEW in THE THING (2011). It is verboten to speak of but I LOVE THE THING. Truth be told I’ve watched it every winter since it came out! No joke.
    It’s a great snow movie and I could listen to MEW’s voice all day. Joel Egerton is easy on the eyes too. And I don’t know, it’s kind of a rec room movie too. I love clubhouse/rec room movies.

    I’ve been wanting to do a PS2 post for years but I always think I’ll only have an audience of one. I have to get on that (and THE THING game is one of my favorites). When done well, games can be just as immersive and life-altering as movies.

    Anyway, glad you enjoyed the movie as much as you did! I know exactly where you are coming from! Also, thanks for understanding my quibbles about a movie are only that- quibbles. Sometimes I get worried that if I say anything derogatory it is misread as a complete dismissal. All my favorite movies have some things I’m not completely on board with but Movies are like people you have to accept the parts you don’t like to get to the good stuff. Now I sound like Mrs. Garrett.


    If you make that dress PLEASE send us a picture! We post it right here!

  • 9 Ben SNo Gravatar // Mar 18, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Now that you talk about spider-y aliens and tons of aliens appearing in lightning I SO WISH that had all happened!

  • 10 jen3rabbitsNo Gravatar // Mar 19, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the shower curtain. I think the yellow and burgundy with the rubber duck really sells the hazmat suit.
    Dang it. Now I want spider pickles, too!

  • 11 jaragonNo Gravatar // Mar 20, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    I thought the first part of the movie is very good but that ending came out left field- I felt as if some one had changed reels and I was watching a Michael Bay movie.

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