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10, Cloverfield Lane  : Mind Games & Aliens
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Friday, April 29, 2016
Dan Trachtenberg
John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr., Douglas M Griffin

When Michelle, an accident victim wakes up chained to a wall and Howard, her captor provides her with all the essentials for survival but no fresh air, the restrictive dinginess is like revisiting last year’s Oscar nomination Room. Except that here her captor asks for no sexual favours, she’s got another normal-seeming victim called Emmet for company and she’s told they have to stay in this Doomsday Bunker because extra-terrestrial aliens have contaminated the air outside. There are no survivors out there and it’s safest down here.


It’s an edgy psychological thriller and there’s enough tension and menace in the air to keep you wondering, what does Howard want from Michelle? But after the initial tautness and mystery, once there’s a killing and blood and escape, surprise, surprise, the story segues into implausible sci-fi fiction. Therefore, unlike Room where your heart went out to the young captive and her 5-year-old son in a straight, scary story of a demented kidnapper, 10, Cloverfield Lane mixes two kinds of films and leaves you feeling dissatisfied. It goes from a nail-biting, what’s-going-to-happen-next thriller to a far-fetched mess of sci-fi and special effects, thereby not staying true to either genre. Honestly, I don’t know why this film has minted so much at the box-office in the US.


It really doesn’t matter that Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle or John Goodman as Howard are good are what they do. Because once the storywriters and director Dan Trachtenberg move into a different kind of attack outside, the impact of what happened in the bunker gets diluted.


For going from psychology to fantasy, 10 Cloverfield Lane gets a disappointing 2.5* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author


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