The 2008 film Cloverfield was an intriguing oddity that benefited enormously from its deliberately obtuse marketing – most audiences barely knew a single thing about it going in, something almost unheard of in these days of carefully-managed movie publicity. This quasi-sequel (it barely has any link whatsoever to its “predecessor”, so even that term is not really appropriate) is very different in terms of tone and content, but it trades off a similar idea of keeping the audience in the dark as to what is really happening, and limiting their information strictly to what the protagonists know. This makes it work terrifically as a claustrophobic thriller, with a palpably tense and suspenseful atmosphere, although that all goes flying out the window in a final fifteen minutes that plays like it’s been gatecrashed by an entirely different film.

What takes place before that is handled almost like a stage play – a woman wakes up in an underground bunker after crashing her car, and is told by the eccentric and bossy man who rescued her that some kind of disaster has taken place and they cannot leave. A third character is also sheltering there, and an intelligent game of trust issues develops between the three, all nicely judged by the actors involved. Allegories about Western fear of terrorist attacks and paranoid conspiracy theories all abound, only for things to go flying off the rails once the bunker is left behind and the film’s secrets are revealed. It’s a completely jarring shift into another kind of movie altogether, which perhaps deserves kudos for its boldness, but feels like a bizarre addition to a pre-existing script.

 

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
A rare film that respects its audience enough to keep them guessing as to what's going on8
A finely-crafted atmosphere of tension and suspense8
Some nice metaphorical ideas about terrorism and paranoia8
The last fifteen minutes are completely and utterly different to all that's gone before6
No idea what it has to do with the original Cloverfield film6
Bechdel Test Passes
  • Features more than one named female character
  • The named female characters talk to each other
  • They talk about something other than men
Bechdel Test Failures
  • n/a
7Overall Score

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