10 Cloverfield Lane 1.0 stars

Movie poster

Synopsis

Just serviceable bunker thriller that asks the question, “Would you want to survive The Big One if it meant being stuck in a windowless concrete cottage with the kind of guy who spent his life preparing to survive The Big One?” (Heck, his own wife and daughter couldn’t stand the rant ‘n rave, and just because he misses his little girl something fierce doesn’t mean he’s about to change his ways.) John Goodman should be aces at this kind of amiable menace (see also: Barton Fink), but the allusion of the title — J.J. Abrams, producer of 2008’s camcorder monster movie Cloverfield, produces again here — generates more suspense (or maybe just curiosity) than anything that happens underground. It’s a pity; the satisfaction of that curiosity comes shortly after things could have gotten seriously scary down below for our resourceful heroine (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, always threatened but never panicked, or even vulnerable). First-time director Dan Trachtenberg is overly reliant on close-ups and big noises in his pursuit of nerve-wracking drama, while third-wheel bunker-boy John Gallagher, Jr. provides heart and humor, but ultimately bogs things down.

Matthew Lickona

Length: 2 hours

Rated: PG-13

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