Cloverfield was a very polarizing movie back in 2008. Most people you would talk to had strong feelings one way or the other, but if you went on the internet you will find almost universal praise. Time changes everything.

Now imagine everyone’s surprise when the first trailer of 10 Cloverfield Lane appeared a mere three months before the release date. No one knew it was coming, nor did they know what it was about. Produced by J.J. Abrams, he described this film as a “blood relative” to the original Cloverfield. Again, a vague statement.

Needless to say, this is not a sequel to Cloverfield. The Director admitted just days before release that it technically didn’t even take place in the same Universe as the first film. No relation at all. Unfortunately, these quotes aren’t plastered on the commercials and posters. I predict a lot of people going into this film and being upset at the lack of monster. Abrams also said he intended for the Cloverfield name to be a sort of anthology of similar-esque films, but each unique and on its own. Like a Twilight Zone movie franchise, without a narrator.

However, I’d watch all three of these actors play board games for two hours and rate it a 5 out of 4.

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winston) is leaving her fiancĂ©/husband Ben (Bradley Cooper). You don’t need to know why, but she is moving out, grabbing only a few things, and hitting the road. Hell, you don’t even have to know about the weird power outages affecting the coast. You just need to know that Michelle is now alone and driving off somewhere that no one knows about. Which is why when she gets into an accident and ran off the road, her friends and family will have a hard time finding her.

Especially when she wakes up in a room, full of scratches and hurt knee. She is down to her underwear and handcuffed to the wall in a mostly barren and locked room. Shit.

Her captor is Howard (John Goodman), a gruff man who claims he saved her life. They are in a bunker because something bad has happened on the surface and the air is toxic. So he claims. He wants her to treat him with respect, saving her life and all. He is totally the best guy right? And he just so happens to have a shelter with tons of locks, food for years and a social room, just in case anything goes down. Surely he isn’t a bad guy. He just luckily found her in the wreck and helped her, for sure, right?

Well, there is another guy in there too. Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), who claims he helped build the shelter and broke his arm trying to get in. He was not kidnapped like she might have been.

Either way, the dynamic is fucked up, lots of secrets, who the fuck knows what is going on outside, we just know that they will be together in there for some time.

So better get used to staring at Howard’s fat ass dancing.

10 Cloverfield Lane, as I already mentioned, with upset a lot of people because it won’t feature the monster from Cloverfield in any way, and that is appropriate backlash given the secrecy and vagueness of it all. That should only affect this film, and not any future planned movie in this franchise-lite universe thing they are planning.

The movie on its own is tense as fuck. Twists, turns, and maybe even a pitfall or two. It traps the viewer in this bunker along with our main character, creating a dense atmosphere of hopelessness and confusion. Our heroine is particularly fun to watch because she isn’t just a held captive. She is resourceful, smart, and takes an active part in her own life, attempting to both escape and figure out what the hell is going on.

Winstead does a fantastic job of carrying the film as the main protagonist, but almost equally important is Goodman. He acts the fuck out of this movie, walking the fine line between concerned father figure and potential sociopath. The viewer can never really determine with any certainty just what he is thinking, as the whole film is generally from Winstead’s point of view. He is unnerving and also a bit sympathetic.

It is important to not overlook the third member of the bunker, Gallagher Jr. His character provides some comic relief and sense of hope. This movie would be much darker and a horror film if his role wasn’t in it.

Finally, what helped amplify the movie into complete crazy territory was the sound effects. Everything was loud and jarring and the sound made every scene ten times better. The people behind it in this movie were outstanding and deserve a lot of the praise into making this film feel so unsettling.

10 Cloverfield Lane is good thriller/drama/sci-fi (maybe!) film that leads the viewer on a strange journey. Monsters do come in all shapes and sizes after all.

3 out of 4.