Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), wakes up lying on a mattress, hooked up to a drip in an underground concrete bunker. If that isn’t worrying enough, she’s additionally chained to a pipe that’s fixed to the wall in there.
The last that she remembers, she was driving along a main road at night, so quite how she’s gone from the one state of affairs to the other she’s unable to say. Understandably though, she has an overwhelming desire to escape.
Her ‘captor’ is Howard (John Goodman), a larger-than-life character who, according to him anyway, is going to be, along with an additional bunker-dweller, Emmett (John Gallagher Jr), her only form of company for the next year or two.
For you see, there has been some kind of ‘attack’ on the U.S home soil, the fallout from which will render any hopes of leaving the bunker’s secure casing most fool-hardy indeed.
Through an exterior window, two mutilated pigs and the sudden appearance of a traumatised, facially disfigured woman appear to back up Howard’s far-fetched story.
To add further legitimacy to proceedings, Emmett admits to actually having asked Howard to let him into the bunker when it all kicked off outside.
So, what does one do? Take the word of a strange man who saw fit to create and kit out a survival bunker in his backyard and potentially lose a couple of years of one’s life in the process, or remain sceptical and look for a way to escape?
This is the conundrum facing Michelle and for three quarters of the film, though not brilliantly done, the suspense and slow unravelling of the truth of this unusual predicament makes 10 Cloverfield Lane perfectly engaging and decent viewing…
…which is what makes the film’s absolutely wretched, bolted-on, dumbed-down car crash of a conclusion such a massive disappointment.
Somehow director Dan Trachtenburg has managed to snatch defeat from the hands of a modest victory here with an absolute smacked-about-the-face stinker of a finale and in doing so, successfully undoes any good work that had preceded it within a most lamentable final fifteen minute spell.
The whole shebang is left wide open to an almost inevitable sequel, though quite what that would entail and more importantly why it would be even be deemed necessary is another thing altogether.
Gord bless Hollywood.