Se­quel takes dif­fer­ent turn

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Ticket -

The low-bud­get, ex­pertly mar­keted crea­ture fea­ture Cloverfield was a pleas­ant sur­prise upon its 2008 re­lease.

Com­bin­ing the then still fairly fresh found-footage shoot­ing for­mula with a Godzilla-like mon­ster smash­ing its way through New York City, it scored big with both crit­ics and cin­ema­go­ers.

Se­quel talk, ini­tially ram­pant, died down a lit­tle in re­cent years but fi­nally, with very lit­tle fan­fare, it’s time for a Cloverfield re­turn – sort of.

Don’t go ex­pect­ing an­other colos­sal crea­ture stomp­ing build­ings and swat­ting at he­li­copters, though; 10 Cloverfield Lane is an al­to­gether dif­fer­ent beast.

Mary El­iz­a­beth Win­stead stars as Michelle, a woman who gets into a car ac­ci­dent and awak­ens to find her­self trapped in an un­der­ground bunker with Howard (John Good­man) and Em­mett (John Gal­lagher Jr), who claim the out­side world has been hit by a chem­i­cal at­tack.

JJ Abrams again pro­duces but the orig­i­nal’s Matt Reeves has been re­placed by Dan Tracht­en­berg – mak­ing his big screen de­but – in the di­rec­tor’s chair.

Abrams him­self has de­scribed 10 Cloverfield Lane as a “blood rel­a­tive” of its pre­de­ces­sor – but even that’s be­ing kind. Gone are the city­wide set pieces – re­placed by a pre­dom­i­nantly sin­gle, small lo­ca­tion.

But Josh Camp­bell, Matthew Stuecken and Damien Chazelle’s screen­play is an ex­er­cise in claus­tro­pho­bic ten­sion as Michelle tries to get to the bot­tom of her cap­tors’ mo­ti­va­tions.

Ev­ery bit as scary as the first film’s mon­ster is Good­man’s para­noid, scruffy prophet of doom. This is the ex-Roseanne star’s best, most well­rounded char­ac­ter in years, and he rises to the chal­lenge with great aplomb.

Win­stead – no stranger to sus­pense­ful roles – is ter­rific too and Gal­lagher Jr doesn’t fold among his bet­ter known co-stars, in­ject­ing Em­mett with blind loy­alty and a fear of the un­known.

Tracht­en­berg em­braces the se­quel’s switch from block­bust­ing-style ac­tion and roller­coaster ride film-mak­ing to near full­blown hor­ror and mys­tery wor­thy of The Twi­light Zone.

He teases Michelle with a lit­eral win­dow of op­por­tu­nity – a view to the out­side world through a door at the top of a dark stair­case – but any kind of sal­va­tion would have to be reached by step­ping over the two dead, bloody pigs ly­ing on the other side.

To say a lot more about the plot and where the writ­ers take us would be giv­ing too much away. One thing 10 Cloverfield Lane has in com­mon with the first movie is that it’s best viewed avoid­ing spoil­ers.

There are sur­prises to revel in but a more taught, tight edit would have im­proved things as the pace slows dra­mat­i­cally more than once.

Cloverfield 2 in near­name only this fol­low-up may be, but it’s no less in­trigu­ing and en­joy­able for it.

Dan­ger zone (L-R) Gal­lagher Jr, Win­stead and Good­man

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