Let’s go back to 2008, probably the most important year of the century so far. We were in the midst of one of the worst economic downturns in American history, we were about to elect the first black president, Barack Obama (who will most likely be historically significant for other reasons, but we just don’t know yet), Iran went to space, Bill Gates retired, we saw the deaths of Bobby Fischer, Heath Ledger, Arthur C. Clarke, Charlton Heston, Bo Diddley, George Carlin, Estelle Getty, Bernie Mac, Isaac Hayes, David Foster Wallace, Paul Newman, and others, and that’s not even getting to the entertainment. Iron Man shook the whole industry. The Dark Knight ruined movies for a while. Kanye put out one of the most influential albums ever. And then there was Cloverfield.
What made Cloverfield such a phenomenon wasn’t so much the movie itself as it was the hype, the mysterious allure around what exactly was going to happen. No one even knew the name of the film until the 2nd trailer. People speculated it was everything from a Lost spin-off to a Voltron movie. With the help of Paranormal Activity, it popularized the found footage genre and made JJ Abrams one of the biggest filmmakers in the world. So, how could Abrams top himself?
Surprise drop. 10 Cloverfield Lane, the second installment in what will presumably be a Twilight Zone-esque anthology series, was first announced in January and came out in March. Unlike the first movie, where we at least had the courtesy to know it was a monster movie, this one left us totally in the dark. It could have been a thriller about a kidnapping, it could have been an anti-war tale, it could have just been another monster movie. Hell, I already saw it, and I’m still not sure what it is.
But whatever it is, it’s amazing. The cinematography is great, the suspense is unrelenting, the twists and turns are mind-boggling. John Goodman delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as Harold, the captor/savior of Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character. It’s best to go into this movie not knowing too much about it, but suffice it to say it just might be one of the best movies of the decade. There seem to be some character inconsistencies, but it’s really a film that demands further analysis, and I’m not in the right head space to provide it.
I give it an A.