10 Cloverfield Lane, the Dan Trachtenberg and Bad Robot project that was little more than an unknown quantity a mere few weeks ago, is on the verge of its theatrical release.
And with that comes the first wave of reviews, and we’re pleased to report that the general consensus is overly positive, praising Trachtenberg’s old-school direction and gripping, almost relentless sense of tension. Slight spoilers may be found in the snippets, so we’ve included the early verdicts after the jump.
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The early boon of feedback on Rotten Tomatoes is also positive, with all critics notching up a fresh review. Below, you’ll find a vertical slice of what to expect.
The Hollywood Reporter: Directed by first-timer Dan Trachtenberg, 10 Cloverfield Lane is, in Abrams’ words, a “spiritual successor” to Matt Reeves’ unusually gripping 2008 monster movie, rather than a literal sequel. Any disclaimers seem unlikely to assuage longstanding expectations for a follow-up, especially since promos for the film clearly hint at something otherworldly overshadowing the narrative. Trachtenberg favors a slow build getting to the final reveal, however, and although some may miss the immediacy of a rampaging kaiju destroying everything in its path, this is an entirely different breed of movie that’s potentially even more effective for its shift in style and tone.
The Wrap: Even if this tale might have been better served as a 40-minute short than as a full-length movie, first-time feature director Dan Trachtenberg has cast a trio of actors at the top of their game, and they elevate the material. It’s not easy to engender audience empathy while at the same time keeping viewers guessing as to a character’s true motivations, but these performers skillfully multi-task the script by newcomers Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken, which got a rewrite by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash).
Variety: Watching Cloverfield, the 2007 found-footage disaster movie about an alien invader on the streets of New York, it was hard to root for human characters who generally seemed bent on taking the stupidest course of action possible, and recording their stupidity for future generations to witness. But boy, do you root for Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the far-from-stupid young woman trapped in an underground bunker in 10 Cloverfield Lane, a sensationally effective semi-sequel that bears virtually no narrative or stylistic resemblance to its predecessor.
Keep your eyes peeled for our own verdict on 10 Cloverfield Lane, which will be creeping its way out of the shadows and on to We Got This Covered in the coming days. Dan Trachtenberg’s quasi-sequel, meanwhile, stomps into theaters on March 11. John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead anchor the drama.