10 Cloverfield Lane is awesome… as long as you’re not expecting Cloverfield 2

10 Cloverfield Lane Review (Extremely Spoiler-Free)

I kind of dislike going to the movie theater and sitting through the trailers I’ve already seen on my computer. Yeah, I know the obvious solution is to refrain from watching trailers online, but I don’t know which trailers will show before the movies I actually see in theaters. In fact, I’d rather not know. The biggest reason I dislike internet trailers is I already know what movie it’s advertising by the time I’ve clicked the link. Sometimes even the thumbnail on YouTube spoils the best part of the trailer.

Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but there’s something magical about watching a trailer for the first time in a theater, especially when it takes an unexpected turn. The 10 Cloverfield Lane trailer sucked me in immediately. My heart swelled and I got giddy as the previously cheery “I Think We’re Alone Now” slowed down and deepened in pitch, confirming our suspicions that something sinister was afoot. Not only had I never heard of this movie, I couldn’t wait to get home and watch the trailer again. (It’s worth noting the two least spoilery trailers of recent memory both involved J.J. Abrams: this movie and The Force Awakens. I can only hope he starts a trend in which Hollywood no longer shows off its best moments for free.)

one of the best trailers I’ve seen in years

I’ve usually filled you in on the basic plot details by now, but I want to discuss anything but that. As with the original Cloverfield, it’s best to go into it without having any idea what it’s really about. When you know you’re getting Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman—two of the most likable actors alive—what more do you need? I’ll tell you this: I loved 10 Cloverfield Lane. If you’re expecting a “normal” movie, there are moments when you’ll say, “Come on!” but the filmmakers know exactly what they’re doing. What they’re doing is eschewing everything they learned about routine filmmaking.

Instead of discussing the plot, I’ll just tell you what I was expecting: you remember that wonderful Twilight Zone episode in which Larry Gates builds a bomb shelter and everyone laughs at him until they find out the bombs are actually coming? And then how quickly the shroud of suburban life came crashing down at the worst possible time? That’s what I was expecting, only with monsters.

“If we survive, what are we surviving for?”

The similarities between that episode (#68 in case you’re interested) and 10 Cloverfield Lane are there, but more in spirit than plot. There are times I thought my other expectations were right. There are times I thought they were wrong. Beyond that, I ain’t saying anything else until you’ve seen the picture. 

To be clear, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a popcorn movie, but it’s a great one. 

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