10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

10 Cloverfield Lane is the new Bad Robot productions movie somehow related to 2008's Cloverfield. Is it a sequel, a spiritual successor, or just in the same universe? Well, JJ Abrams kept his lips pretty sealed. We didn't though, so check out the trailer below, and then if you're not worried about spoilers, continue on down to our review. Be sure to let us know by twitter or in the comments if you agree with us or not.

 
 

Jack: And here we go. 10 Cloverfield Lane. I was so goddamned excited for this movie. Haven’t been this excited for a new movie coming out in some time. Did I just buy into the JJ Abrams hype-machine? Probably, but how bad could it be with John Goodman in a leading role?

 

None. None bad is how bad it could be.

 

Jake: Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. You just started a review with a sentence prior to your dumbass title-only sentence. What’s going on here? Is this actually Jack? Have you sobered up from your drunken romp (allegedly, according to me) through town? Did you pick up any charges, or are we cool?

Jack: I can neither confirm nor deny anything that may or may not have happened. Even if I could, it would be hearsay or violate my 33rd Amendment rights or something. You know what?! You're out out of order, I'm calling a kangaroo court!

Jake: You are just a crackerjack lawyer huh? You’re right though. It was not bad at all. But this thing was toeing a line for me the whole time. I was suspicious that the movie might only be carrying the ‘Cloverfield’ name to generate hype in an attempted cash-grab. After seeing the film, I can confidently say that I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what it was. Which makes the quality of the film pretty vital. If this was not a good movie, it would have felt so much worse as a result of its titular connection.

Jack: That's true, and because of all the hype, there were spoilers everywhere. But I managed to make it to the movie sans any sorts of spoilers. I went in with no idea how this tied in to Cloverfield. As a side note, I kind of came out that way too, but we’ll get to that later.

Jake: No, we’re gonna have to get to it right now, buddy. At least to some extent. I’m sorry, but this is too big a fish to fry (cryptic foreshadowing to future post). I’m just not sure how this could have happened in the same universe as the original Cloverfield. If the events in this movie occurred after the NYC attack, you can bet your ass the characters would have discussed it given the apocalyptic setting, all the goddamn time they had to do nothing but converse with each other, and the fact that one of the three characters in the film is a goddamn doomsday prepper. So scratch that possibility. If this movie’s plot  happened before the NYC attack, then that wouldn’t make sense either due to the completely catastrophic and seemingly worldwide spread of the happening. We can get to the plot and fill in from there, but I’m just not sure how this could possibly be connected at all. It’s also worth noting that this movie was originally called “The Cellar”, and it got picked up by Paramount and tied into Abrams’ Cloverfield-land.

Jack: Yeah. It’s clear that Cloverfield happened exactly in 2007. The technology of the time (minus magic super-cameras) is clearly of that era. Similarly, 10 Cloverfield Lane is clearly set now. Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, has a very modern smart-phone at the beginning of the movie. Which is an excellent transition to the start of the plot of the movie. See how good a writer I am? We open on Michelle leaving her house. No words are spoken, she takes off her wedding ring and sets it down and leaves. These early scenes do a terrific job of establishing a feeling of unease and dread.

Jake: Definitely. To the movie doing an effective job of setting the tone. Not to your effectiveness as a writer. Fuck you. I think a big part of the effectiveness early on is the lack of any exposition. You aren’t sure what she is running from, and you aren’t sure where she is headed. You just know she is leaving. This is further aided by a very effective score that really helps establish an uneasy feeling early, and it never lets up. I’m not gonna lie though, I also think some of the effectiveness early on (at least for me) was related to trying to piece things together and projecting what I knew from the original Cloverfield to what was happening on screen. Was that fair? No. Do I think a lot of people probably did the same thing? You betcha.

Jake: Definitely. To the movie doing an effective job of setting the tone. Not to your effectiveness as a writer. Fuck you. I think a big part of the effectiveness early on is the lack of any exposition. You aren’t sure what she is running from, and you aren’t sure where she is headed. You just know she is leaving. This is further aided by a very effective score that really helps establish an uneasy feeling early, and it never lets up. I’m not gonna lie though, I also think some of the effectiveness early on (at least for me) was related to trying to piece things together and projecting what I knew from the original Cloverfield to what was happening on screen. Was that fair? No. Do I think a lot of people probably did the same thing? You betcha.

Jake: Definitely. To the movie doing an effective job of setting the tone. Not to your effectiveness as a writer. Fuck you. I think a big part of the effectiveness early on is the lack of any exposition. You aren’t sure what she is running from, and you aren’t sure where she is headed. You just know she is leaving. This is further aided by a very effective score that really helps establish an uneasy feeling early, and it never lets up. I’m not gonna lie though, I also think some of the effectiveness early on (at least for me) was related to trying to piece things together and projecting what I knew from the original Cloverfield to what was happening on screen. Was that fair? No. Do I think a lot of people probably did the same thing? You betcha.

Jack: And then the car crash happens. We’ve already seen most of the car crash in the trailer, but it’s still pretty visceral and effective.

Jake: Very effective. Don’t text and drive. It’s basically a PSA…

Jack: Especially if some psycho spontaneously decides to run you off the road. Definitely don’t text and drive in that scenario.

Jake: Precisely. And it leads straight into the title card, which serves a dual purpose. Primarily, as with any title card, it tells you what the fucking film is, separating the cold open from the movie proper. Secondarily though, the direction of the title card is pretty effective. The movie’s poster art makes use of the title to show that it takes place underground. After the car crash, Michelle wakes up in a bunker. It served as a pretty effective transition.

Jack: Agreed. Michelle wakes up on a mattress in a t-shirt and her underwear in a cinderblock room with a knee-brace which is handcuffed to a pipe in the basement. The feeling and tone set initially by the movie carry right on through to this scene. The viewer is just as confused as Michelle and almost as anxious.

Jake: She is very disoriented but immediately establishes a clear character trait that persists throughout the film. This girl scores high on the ingenuity scale. She instantly recognizes her situation and suspects the worst. Finding a way to get to her cell phone, she tries to get a connection before hearing a noise coming from outside the large steel door to her cell. After what feels like an excruciating amount of time, the latch finally gives way and in walks Mr. John Goodman. And my god is he intimidating. Right off the bat he's claiming to have saved Michelle.

Jack: John Goodman, who plays Howard, does such an effective job throughout his movie. His character has such an incredible depth to him in every scene. They layers come through every time he’s on screen. The other two actors are very good as well. Mary Elizabeth Winstead does a great job playing a really badass hero. One of my favorite things about the movie was how badass she is. It comes through pretty early on. She’s trying all sorts of different things to escape. She lights a shirt on fire and puts in the vent to smoke Howard into coming down to check on her where she is planning on stabbing him with a walking crutch that she sharpened with a piece of her handcuff. It doesn’t work, but not because of anything Michelle should have done differently. It’s clearly not one of those movies where you’re yelling at the screen because of the dumb shit the protagonists are doing. Looking at you, second half of The Strangers.

Jake: The characters (all three of em) are definitely great. It might have made the overall casting search easier to only need to staff three people, but at the same time having few characters adds a tremendous amount of pressure to the writing, and the casting is of paramount importance because any weakness would significantly impact the finished product. Luckily, they knocked it out of the fucking park. John Gallagher Jr. plays the third character, Emmett. He is introduced in a commotion with Howard, and it’s a little confusing who he is at first. I initially expected he was the driver of the other car involved in Michelle’s accident due to his being injured as well and his overall yokel persona befitting of someone who would have been driving a big pickup with floodlights matching the car she collided with. We’re quickly informed that’s not the case though, and that Emmett instead injured himself trying to get into the bunker.

Jack: I was confused as to the timeline. It feels like once the bunker was closed, it was closed for good. So did Howard bring Michelle down in there and right as he was closing up Emmett started banging on the door? That is not the impression I got. The movie made me think that Emmett had been in there for awhile. He has a familiarity with the whole situation that doesn’t feel like it could have came from the two days or however long Michelle was asleep for.

Jake: Luckily, I think that part of the plot is explained well enough through the backstory we are given as the movie progresses. Emmett actually helped Howard construct the bunker, so he has known him for years and is fully aware of his eccentricities. He also knew where to come when shit got real, which leads me to believe that he indeed showed up right as Howard was closing up shop. Howard explains very ineffectively and unconvincingly that the surface world is gone. Everyone is dead. No more civilization. He only gives that info to Michelle in small doses though, which sets us on a roller coaster of trust as it relates to Howard. He shows her some dead pigs that are rotting outside of the airlock window, but it doesn’t really resonate as great evidence. Is he just a creep with bad intentions? Is he completely right? Some combo? We don’t fucking know and the film is paced at the speed of glacial recession so it creates some amazingly effective mystery.

Jack: Michelle never stops fighting to escape in these early scenes. And Emmett is just simple-minded enough so that he provides no insight into what in the hell is going on outside. Howard demands they all eat around the table, and at dinner one night, Michelle starts flirting with Emmett pretty obviously as part of an escape attempt. Howard freaks right the fuck out. He explodes. It’s terrifying and tense. Michelle is able to grab Howard’s keys, smash him in the face with a bottle, and make a break for it. She books it for the entrance to the surface, but when she arrives at the final door there is a woman who pulls up and begs to get in. The woman’s face is all different kinds of fucked up. Pretty much just melted off like she opened the dang ark of the covenant.

 
 

Jack: As she is in the airlock, literally standing between two different worlds, Michelle has a crystallizing moment deciding whether or not to believe Howard. She sees his truck, which is dented and scraped from when he ran her off the road, but she also sees this lady with a melted face. She decides to believe Howard and retreats into the bunker leaving the woman to die. After she shows Howard this sign of trust he confesses to her that he was the one who ran her off the road, albeit as an accident. That revelation leads to a pretty great montage of Howard, Michelle, and Emmett starting to get along.

Jake: The bouncing cadence of the oldies soundtrack is interesting and effective as this sequence of the movie provides a definite reprieve from the intensity that has been building for the first third. They play board games, watch movies, cook together, and seem to adjust to their new life underground. Even in this section of the film, the forced simplicity of their existence in this bunker carries a feeling of unease to it, however.

Jack: The good times comes to a screeching halt when the air filtration system goes on the fritz. The access hatch is blocked (of course), and the only way to get to they system to reboot it is for Michelle to crawl her way through the vents. It's a real classic reverse Spock / Kirk paradigm:

 
 

Jake: I honestly have no fucking idea what you're saying half the time. But anyway, because (of course) Michelle's the only one small enough to fit in the air ducts, she hops up there. I’m not sure if it’s because the movie already feels so stifling (both physically and psychologically), but when Michelle gets in those vents the sense of space is really powerful. The camera drags along as she tries to feel her way through the dark, hearing Howard’s partially-muted voice coming from somewhere outside. She doesn’t have room to effectively move with a flashlight so she carries it in her mouth. If she loses it or gets stuck, there’s no getting out. As the viewer, you’d give anything to return to the spacious luxury of the bunker as soon as she gets in there.

Jack: Yeah, it's fucking terrifying. I have personally crawled through similarly sized spaces with no real issues, but something about the way that was filmed made me squirm like crazy. I felt like I was playing that dang ants in my pants board game:

 
 

Jake: Don’t bullshit our readers, Jack. You’re not that small... After what feels like the length of a cricket match, Michelle pulls herself into a room containing the filtration system. She flips the switch and restores normalcy. Except that she doesn’t. She sees a skylight and examines it to find the word “help” etched in blood, and discovers an earring on the ground. She recognizes it as being the same as the one in a photo of Howard and his daughter. Hop back on the roller coaster y’all, because it seems like Howard is every bit the malicious loon you first suspected.

Jack: You’re right that it crystallizes that he’s a fucking psychopath at this point, but I don’t think it’s quite as clear cut as that. You still had the dead pigs that Howard showed Michele earlier, and the face-melted-off girl, showing that something is wrong above ground. At this stage I was still wondering if he did bring them down there to help them, but then also just happens to be a serial killer too.

Jake: That’s entirely possible. He could be a legitimate bug-out-bag-burying weirdo, but he was definitely prepared. He could also be a serial killer, but Michelle and Emmett would likely not be alive if it weren’t for him. It’s a very interesting predicament. Michelle tells Emmett what she found and he corrects her. Turns out the girl Howard claimed was his daughter was not his daughter at all, but was a high school classmate of Emmett that recently went missing and was never found. Either way, it’s not good. They decide they need to try to test their luck finding help on the surface as opposed to being stuck with that fuckin’ maniac.  

Jack: At that point, there's not much worse than being down there. Although poison air might hit that benchmark. She and Emmett hatch a plan to make a biohazard suit to protect them above ground. The plan is for them to lock Howard up in the bunker while one of them uses the suit to look for help and reports back to the other. They start surreptitiously stealing supplies to make the suit, but Emmett has trouble keeping up the ruse. During a game of Taboo he almost spills the beans because Howard does the most terrifying impersonation of Santa Claus anyone has ever seen. Honestly, I might prefer Krampus to Howard-Santa.

Jake: Well that is one decision which I hope to never have to make. But it is noteworthy just how goddamned resourceful they both are to get to a stage where they have something even remotely resembling a hazmat suit. Pretty much anything that has been introduced as a prop for anything during the movie is used to their advantage in creating the suit and makeshift gas mask. It’s also extremely serendipitous that Michelle is a budding clothing designer and has the required skillset. Again, this is hinted at earlier in the movie as well, as Howard makes her stitch his head after she clocks him with the bottle, but hey that’s what you get when you find a stranger in the Alps.

 
 

Jack: For sure. Draw clothes for a hobby + do a decent job stitching a forehead = totally able to sew an airtight hazmat suit with minimal materials.  This is kindergarten stuff bud.

Jake: It honestly makes you wonder just how much he might have known about about her prior to the events of the movie. He does admit to having caused the accident, but as befitting of an abusive captor, still maintains his dominance by focusing on the saving her life component. It seems possible that he was following her in the first scene though when she notices a truck at the gas station. Food for thought.

Jack: Could be, but it's still left ambiguous. Our editor was pretty sure it wasn't Howard’s truck at the gas station. He drinks a lot though, and is a bit of a simpleton. Anyways, everything comes to a head when Howard finds some of the missing supplies. Needless to say, it does not go well.

 
 

Jack: Howard pushes a secret panel in a wall open to reveal a giant, brand new vat of perchloric acid. He says it’s used to dissolve organic matter, leading us to maybe believe it’s how they're getting rid of waste. Only it’s not plumbed into anything, and perchloric acid reacts violently and explosively when it comes into contact with water. So that’s probably not why it’s there.

Jake: Yeah it seems he just had it and was waiting to use it. Which is why this scene is so nervy. I was sure he was going to fly off the handle again like in the dinner scene and dunk Emmet’s face in the barrel or at bare minimum interrogate him by sticking his hand in there to get him to talk. He wanted it to go like this. I’m sure of it.

 
 

Jack: In any case, Howard dissolves the scissors and other supplies he found, and demands to know what was going on. Emmett accepts the blame, saying he was trying to make a weapon so that Michelle would be as impressed by him as she is by Howard. The things we do for women, amirite?!

Jake: Yep. Although you can’t fault his logic. She’s clearly demonstrated that sort of simple mindedness in her actions throughout the movie so she would certainly be obedient to the man packing more heat… Oh boy. What an epic yarn we weave, Emmett. You can tell he’s trying to play to Howard’s ego, and for a moment you’re unsure as to how it’s gonna go.

Jack: And then, in a scene that I genuinely didn’t see coming at all, Howard shoots Emmett right in the fucking head. The scene is great. It’s shocking, and the sound design is incredible. The gunshot is extremely loud, and then you hear from Michelle’s perspective as the ringing of tinnitus floods the speakers while Howard’s words fade slowly back into the audible territory. She utters surprisingly few “Mawp”s though.

 
 

Jake: This also signals Howard’s shift to his unabashedly creepy and potentially sexually deviant phase. He explains that with Emmett gone, things can happen “like they were supposed to” or some shit. He then sends her to her room so he can clean up the Emmett mess. He comes down a short time later nicely dressed (by his standards) and cleanly shaven for the first time, eating an ice cream cone. What in the fuck. There are definitely some implications.

Jack: Jesus Christ, he is such a fucking creep. Real grade-a perv stuff. Anyway, Michelle keeps working on the biohazard suit. Howard unsurprisingly finds it and confronts her about it. She, ever-resourceful, springs into action and dumps the whole goddamned vat of conveniently located perchloric acid on him. Howard falls over into it and it eats off most of his organic matter.

Jake: The vat spills all over the goddamn place and starts an electrical fire in the living space of the bunker. I know that if I ever become a doomsday prepper I will definitely fill my space with shit that is explosive, flammable, and violently reacts to water. How else would I effectively intimidate my captives? Time to go! She runs to her room to get the hazmat suit and bail, but is confronted by Howard again, but… like... melty. Somehow.

Jack: At the point, the movie sort of becomes like a creature feature. Michelle is trying to flee the bunker as quickly as she can so she doesn’t get all burned up. Somehow Howard has survived, but sans-face, mind you. So this shambling monster of a pretty much no-longer-human-but-was-he-ever-really-human-hmm-deep-philosophical-questions villain is chasing her through the shelter. Total shift in feel for the movie, from psychological horror to monster-y. There’s another really great scene with Michelle crawling through the vents where Howard is jamming his knife right the fuck through the metal trying to kill her. Calls back to the terrifying earlier vent scene and adds a new element. Really cool.

Jake: In another instance of dialogue and props introduced earlier coming into play again, she uses Howard’s advice from his military days about freezing locks to break them, and manages to break out in the nick of time before the bunker explodes. Once on the surface, she approaches the cars and notices a flock of birds flying, indicating the air is not contaminated. She takes off the mask and finds she can breathe.

Jack: And that’s when the movie just goes all the way off the rails. MEGA SPOILERS below if you’re still worried about that. Michelle looks off into the distance to see an alien spacecraft. Really. Just a full-on alien ship. Well, actually it’s not clear if it’s a craft or just some flying alien creature, but either way it’s clearly an alien something. The flying craft drops something down, and that thing is clearly after Michelle. You don’t get a really good look at it at first as it hides in the cornfield, which leads to a great scene where Michelle flees to a chicken coop and is hiding, trying to get a look at the the creature. I was as tense as her, trying to crane my neck to look around the corner even though I’m given to understand that’s not how spatial reasoning works or something. Yet. Anyway, it’s really reminiscent of that scene from Signs where they’re watching the tape of the birthday party, which, in my opinion, is a really big compliment.

Jake: Yeah, it’s aliens. It’s actually shockingly close to the joking description of aliens Emmett used earlier in the film about “space worms”, because these weird lamprey-armadillo things are out to find and kill human life, it’s abundantly clear. My main problem with this part of the film is that it goes beyond tipping the cap to alien movies it clearly takes inspiration from and into the realm of just being the same thing. I noticed and liked a couple shots similar to several other alien flicks like Signs and District 9, but the most jarring was the overall look and feel matching War of the Worlds, another Paramount film.

Jack: I don’t know. I didn’t hate it as much as you. The movie had already changed tones drastically, so I kind of liked it that they just said “You know what? Fuck it. The last 10 minutes of this psychological thriller are an alien action movie.” It was pretty shocking, and I enjoyed that.

Jake: See, I didn’t even find it that shocking. I knew something along these lines was coming based on the fucking bullshit trailer that aired during the Super Bowl that clearly showed some sort of large blue light rising from behind a house, indicating a) she gets out, and b) there’s something up there. It gave too much away, and you couldn’t even avoid it because of the Super Bowl placement. I get appealing to the mainstream to pique interest and make a profit but stop fucking giving movies away to that ridiculous degree.

Jack: I do agree that it’s by far the weakest part of the movie, I guess I just didn’t dislike it as much as you. Michelle gets into Howard’s truck, but is then picked up by the flying craft. Being a complete badass, she quickly fashions a molotov cocktail (out of a bottle of “Glenvulin” scotch) and throws it into the thing’s mouth(?) bringing the whole thing to the ground. This scene is nearly a carbon copy of one of the final scenes from War of the Worlds (2005).

Jake: After taking it down, she hops in the car and drives off, notably running over the mailbox which bears the address of Howard’s farm and the name of the film. She picks up a radio signal in the car, indicating there is still life out there. It is a transmission from the human resistance, informing her there is safety in Baton Rouge and calling for any capable people to come and help fight in Houston. This conveniently happens at a crossroads, and she visibly deliberates before making the turn to Houston. There is a lightning flash illuminating a large alien craft and the credits roll.

Jack: I think what they were going for was to jump on board the current trend of really badass female heroes who younger people, especially girls can look up to. We’ve had those Hungry Games movies, The Insurgent, and that new Star Wars that all have super badass heroines. And it worked here too. Seeing her start driving off to Houston got me pretty pumped. Although I do agree that it certainly didn’t really fit the rest of the movie.

Jake: We’re left with trying to reflect on how this ties into Cloverfield, if at all. I’m more in the camp of it not tying in, which likely makes it a cash grab. That’s a bit disappointing. The one possibility that came of our discussion that would create a logical tie to the Cloverfield “franchise”  is, as our editor Mark pointed out, that they might be making an anthology series. Making a whole bunch of unrelated movies about the ways the world could end all codenamed Cloverfield is an intriguing concept that will likely never happen. Instead, rumblings are that they are seeking to make a third movie that will tie the two films together. Not sure how I feel about that.

Jack: Something to point out here is that Paramount was originally making this movie with a different production company under the moniker of “The Cellar,” and then repurposed the film when that company went bankrupt. The script of the “The Cellar” is available to some extent online, or is at least discussed in depth on Cloverfield message boards, and contains no mentions of Aliens. In fact, in the original rendition the world is just nuked to dust by terrorists.

Jake: The only other connective tissue I can think of is the continuation of the viral marketing through the Tagruato holding company, etc. In fact, the first trailer strung in some seemingly random digits, which internet fans pieced into coordinates and went to the location and dug up a container with survival gear, a thumb drive with a faux NASA recording regarding a “red flash” and the missing puzzle pieces from the film. Digging deeper, fans found a locker in Chicago that had a cell phone in it that Howard contacted before the movie opened trying to reach Megan.  And more. Impressive. The whole thing strings together a bunch of mostly one-sided communication of Howard trying to talk to his daughter, Megan, and serves to add depth to an already interesting and layered character. If you see the movie without knowing his backstory, you’ll be fine, but knowing how deep the rabbit hole goes make it all the more intriguing.

Jack: It’s a similar tactic that Bad Robot used with the original Cloverfield where they used an ARG to flesh out the backstory. As ridiculous as some of the hoop-jumping is, the fact that real life people now have props from the movie really helps to reinforce how “real” the universe is, which in turn bolsters the immersion. Yes, at its base it’s just a marketing campaign, but at least it’s one that improves and builds upon the content of the movie and doesn’t give away the ending of the fucking movie.
 


RATINGS (1-10)

For 1, think of how Harling Mays would rate touching the merchandise:

 
 

For 10, think of how LBJ would rate pants with a big enough crotch for his nuts and his bunghole:

 
 

STORY:

Jack: 8 - I loved the story. Really original. The depth to John Goodman’s character was terrific. Even by the end, you’re still not sure whether he was completely just a psychopath, or a psychopath who was trying to do a good thing at the beginning. And I even liked the crazy shift into aliens at the end.

Jake: 7 - This is a good story. It’s layered and everything it provides to the viewer has a certain economy to it. It will all be used to help with some element of plot progression as things churn along. I would give the plot a 9 while things are contained below ground, and would give the alien component something very, very low. Honestly though, that part of the film doesn’t really matter. As the poster said “monsters come in many forms”.

WORLD-BUILDING / IMMERSION

Jack: 8 - The movie does such a fantastic job of building and maintaining a feeling. You go through many of the same emotions as Michelle. You are as mystified as what’s happening out there as Michelle and Emmett are. It does lose some points for the alien bits at the end, but even the alien scenes contained that one with her peeping at that individual alien that I really liked.

Jake: 8 - I was on the edge of my seat, clenching my knuckles for the vast majority of this film. I felt very wrenched out of things at the end, but it wasn’t enough to rob this from deserving a high score overall.

SCARE-FACTOR

Jack: 5 - Again, the movie does a great job of building atmosphere. You feel isolated and dread throughout most of it. I just kind of feel like there was really no payoff to all that atmosphere it built. Apart from the claustrophobia scene, there really just isn’t anything scary that happens. And then the alien bits weren’t scary at all.

Jake: 5 - I’m going to apply “tense” to this category. There is a background dread to this movie. Uncertainty as to what’s going on outside, being stuck with a creepy person and vulnerable, claustrophobia, hopelessness, abuse… all come into play. I didn’t like the final third to such a degree that it actually detracted from this rating a bit. It was an intense ride though.

EFFECTS (OR JUDICIOUS LACK THEREOF)

Jack: 6 - There aren’t a lot of effects throughout most of the movie, and it benefits for it. The bunker and the things in it all look believable. Then they go outside and there are aliens. The aliens don’t really look bad, but they don’t look good either. They just look okay. I don’t know that they will age particularly well.

Jake: 7.5 - I liked the judicious lack of effects. This is primarily a psychological horror film. It didn’t need much. That component scored very highly. I’m not going to detract too much due to the aliens here, but I don’t think they were particularly unique or anything special. War of the Worlds 2.0 for that part.

OVERALL: 

Jack: 7 - I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. Sure, maybe the aliens weren’t the best way to resolve it, but I actually liked that they just gave you a totally different movie for the last fifteen minutes. Also the pacing of this thing was great, and never lost my attention.

Jake: 7, but 4 for a Cloverfield movie - I’m really happy this was a good movie, because if it had some more glaring weaknesses, it would have suffered all the more for having that Cloverfield name attached. I feel a little robbed given the production history of the movie and the cash-grab aspect to it. This deserves to be viewed in a vacuum. I’ll appreciate it for what it is, and hope for that Cloverfield anthology idea to come to fruition.