The Cloverfield Project.
103 Minutes. Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elisabeth Winstead & John Gallagher Jr. Director: Dan Trachtenberg.
Go postal and take a trip to '10 Cloverfield Lane' and you may just wish you never wiped your feet on the welcome mat. Because this "spiritual successor", sequel of sorts, side story to the 'Blair Witch' found footage project of 'Cloverfield' is just as much in orbit with the horror genre as it is the science fiction one. And boy is it scary! After the fallout of the alien apocalypse in New York and now set in a shelter from the storm above, it goes nuclear on your every nerve. As above as below, from the death from above to the six feet under and rising depth of a bunker home that brings claustraphobia to your every fear and worst nightmare. But boy is it good! 'Cloverfield' director J.J. Abrams takes a Speilbergian production side-seat and executive credit on this one following his twin 'Trek' and 'War' with the stars that shows in this reboot age he is rocket fuel to the boldly gone, galaxy far, far away franchises. Crimson and clover, how about a do-over? Because this one is sort of a retake in itself, or the one sequel that you can say is nothing like the original...let alone superior. We may not know exactly what it is, but this film is anything but that problem. First time director Dan Trachtenberg rachets up the tension on this second 'Cloverfield', behind a sonically scary score that will take your head off like the Statue of Liberty in the first film and leave the hands of Hans needing a Zimmer. From the car passing the fields of crops primed to be circled at the beginning you have no idea which way this is all going to go round. As this top ten sci-fi of the last decade finds its own, new lane.
Now lets ride with 'Die Hard 4.0' actress Mary Elisabeth Winstead in this Cloverfield 2.0 as she is in a race against time, pack your things and go, run for her life. But spot the ring on the table and you'll see that its the doomsday of divorce she's skipping town for. But whose that voice on the phone calling her back? Well this 'Alias' is a vocal cameo from a Hollywood hearthrob/Racoon taking out the trash in a whole new galaxy. I bet you didn't see that coming? Well this film has plenty of those blaring moments ready to run you off the road and hit you sideways. Waking you up to the concrete floor basement of this underground cellar that's as cold as the pipe your handcuffed to isn't. Just like 'Saw', strapped up with a broken leg cast in leather. Face that! Yeah, Mary Elisabeth Winstead's had better days...but perhaps not as an actress. This may just be her best role yet. The 'Die Hard' breakout, who never got her not so 'Good Day' sequel star is dynamic dynamite here in this explosion of the senses atuned with fear. Her host in this house of horrors, John Goodman. Still on his half decade tear that started with the Oscar winning 'The Artist' and cumilated on a Jean Dujardin reunion in 'Monuments Men'. Between other terrific turns in 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close', 'Flight', 'Argo', 'Inside Llewyn Davis', 'The Gambler', 'Trouble With The Curve' and the third 'Hangover' movie. But this is 'Red State' frightening. Here the question is; is John a good man or not? One thing he's really good at is acting. Scary good as you'll never guess if this man seeking a friend for the end of the world is telling the truth or lieing with the devil. Stocked up with all the canned food and packaged ready meals his Costco cart could carry and making the living room of his man cave look his best like the sitcom set of 'Roseanne', this is far from fun...but you have to appreciate some wicked wit. Sinisterly serious but with something compelling about his creepy charm. John is so good as a man powered by human race holocaust paranoia and a ungracefully social inept, perplexed view of people. After all the the big number pictures this 'Big Lebowski' star has marked down this complex character could be his biggest score and the number one things dear John's always remembered for. He's just that good.
Yet threes a crowd. And you know Green Day Broadway star John Gallagher Jr. is going to cause trouble like a rock star in a hotel room with the television set on a short cable lead. Still the anchoring star of 'The Newsroom' is terrific as a hick who could have made good on an athletic scholarship if he just took that bus out of town and didn't make that wrong turn over and over again like another horror franchise. He's a trucker hat stop or two away from all of that though junior. Time to find your way home. Abrams and this new 'Cloverfield' director have set up shop with all the bells and whistles of some out of this world as we know it, 'Alien' horror rooted in the nature of fiction of the future that plays on our consciousness of what exactly we are doing for tomorrow today. Just like the prophetic parables of the pioneering forefather of this genre Phillip K. Dick. The 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep' writer would be proud of this total recall adapted from the screenplay 'The Cellar' and moonlighted under the no spoilers or leaks allowed name of 'Valencia'. No sketches of Spain however, this is almost all too 'War Of The Worlds' radio broadcast, fake fear inducing real. It hits you not so subtely but maybe not so seriously like a family board game gone all too skin crawling and lump throat familiar. Who am I? What is this? Something that will leave you screaming like the harsh ear drum rolling sound of screeching, slashing metal from the iron lung bunkers opening and closing door you could have sworn levered towards something else. What is this? The real follow up to the 'Cloverfield' franchise that many thought was originally J.J's 80's Speilberg homage 'Super 8'. Well that's more like 'Midnight Special'. Get your camcorders or iPhones ready because from the millenials to the vine generation this is something else entirely. Even Hud himself T.J. Miller couldn't quite catch something like this on camera...and he just directed the long awaited, eagerly anticipated Marvel, comic-book adaptation 'Deadpool' movie. Well mercs mouths are going to be moving about this one. The aliens praying on mother earth like a mantis are back...and you may not be able to see them but it sounds like they're getting even bigger and better. Now all you want to do is crawl your way to the top and really see the abducting light. Just make sure you send us a postcard...we want to see where all this goes. You know the address. TIM DAVID HARVEY.