Back in 2008, producer J.J. Abrams surprised audiences with a nifty sci-fi opus called, cryptically, “Cloverfield.” It seemed to have arrived out of nowhere and when on to become a box office smash. Well, Abrams has yet another surprise up his sleeve. The terrific suspense thriller “10 Cloverfield Lane” is the unannounced follow-up.
John Goodman plays a man who forces a young woman into his elaborate underground bunker, but his motives are unclear. Is he a psycho, or is he saving her from an even greater threat? Mary Elizabeth Winstead from TV’s “Mercy Street” is the one held captive and John Gallagher, Jr. from TV’s “Newsroom” plays the third occupant of this well-stocked subterranean shelter.
Goodman, Winstead and Gallagher are all excellent, and the movie uses its claustrophobic elements to good effect.
First-time director Dan Tractenberg skillfully ratchets up the tension without ever giving away his hand. Like all of the best sequels, you don’t need to have seen “Cloverfield” to enjoy “10 Cloverfield Lane” because it stands on its own. It’s like an intriguing full-length episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
If you like taut and involving thrillers, then “10 Cloverfield Lane” is one address you’ll definitely want to visit.
Also opening this week, Sasha Baron Cohen of “Borat” fame plays a dim-witted British soccer hooligan who discovers his brother is a MI6 assassin in the spy action comedy, “The Brothers Grimsby.” “The Young Messiah” is a Biblical epic that tells the story of 7-year-old Jesus and finds out about his miraculous mission. “Home Alone” helmer Chris Columbus directs. “Hitchcock/Truffaut” is a documentary about a meeting between the two famous filmmakers. “Embrace of the Spirit” is an Oscar-nominated Colombian drama about the search for a sacred jungle plant. “Rolling Papers” is a documentary about the legalization of marijuana in Colorado.