My biggest pet peeve when it comes to theatrical trailers is when they show you the entire movie in 2 minutes. And in the past 10 years it's only gotten worse! Take for instance the second BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE trailer. It was awful! Not only did it show way too much, the ad insulted moviegoers by showing the beginning, middle, and end of the super hero grudge match! Common sense tells us that the World's Finest make up in the end to fight the greater threat, the MCU.
The third and final trailer ended up way better, so much so that whoever cut that last one was probably fired. And with the (no end in sight) popularity of the comic book movie, do we even need a trailer for a Superman vs. Batman trailer? A teaser at best of punches being thrown and you got yourselves a box office draw!
So what does this have to do with 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE? The marketing genius of J.J. Abrams and his production company Bad Robot. Ever since SUPER 8 their mission statement has basically been “less is more”. To this day, the teaser for 2008's CLOVERFIELD is still one of my favorites. The highlight of seeing TRANSFORMERS that summer for sure.
With all the endless movie news websites how did a “sequel” to CLOVERFIELD surprise us so much? Probably because it had a non-interesting title at first. Here's probably how it went down; Bad Robot buys a script called “The Cellar” they makes some changes, and slap the Cloverfield brand on it. Oh, and call the production “Valencia” that way nobody is the wiser. Great marketing move! It's refreshing not knowing about a movies release until only a couple of months before it comes out. It's just too bad fans are going to be pissed the film is not a sequel! Or is it?
After getting in a car accident, a woman wakes up in a underground shelter held captive by a man who believes the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack. Michelle doesn't trust Howard and thinks he's just some crazy pervert. But after some horrific convincing, she starts to think Howard might not be crazy after all?
That's all I can say plot wise about 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE without ruining one of the best thrillers I've seen in years. Dan Trachtenberg has a natural knack for directing. I cannot believe this is his first feature! For a film set in a bomb shelter and only having four maybe six sets, Trachtenberg knows how to keep things interesting. I didn't realize until the move was over just how minimal the production was. That's signs of a talented filmmaker!
The acting is pretty good as well. This might be my favorite performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Great body language, especially in her eyes. It's true when they say actions speak louder than words.
And of course John Goodman does a great job as Howard, the creepy prepper. Just the right amount of crazy to keep the audience guessing. Guessing if he'll ever go full crazy that is! Goodman brings something to the role that makes you almost feel for Howard, almost.
The film has been out for a couple of days and news travels fast, so you've probably heard that 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is not a direct sequel. This is something that did not bother me in the slightest. The filmmakers have called the film a blood relative, which after seeing the movie I am totally on board for. More Cloverfield anthology films the better in my opinion. And keep the “mystery box” style of marketing going!
Final thoughts. I highly recommend 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE! An impressive indie thriller packaged as a mainstream J.J Abrams production. 2016 has just gotten started but I expect to see the film somewhere on my “Best Of” list come December.