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I will confess to not having seen the original ‘Cloverfield‘ movie from 2008. However this would not prove to be a problem as ‘10 Cloverfield Lane‘ stands very well on it’s own. It’s not a sequel to the first film in any true sense. In fact, the films’ producer J.J. Abrams even said that it’s more of “a blood relative” or spiritual successor than any kind of follow-up. It starts out with Michelle agitatedly packing her belongings and leaving her keys and an engagement ring behind as she drives off into the night leaving the city for parts unknown. After she fills up her car at an out-of-the-way gas station, she receives a call from Ben (a voice cameo by none other than Bradley Cooper) asking her to come back and not to run just because they had a fight. And it is at the time that her car is run off the road and down an embankment. She awakens later to find herself locked in a cement room, hooked up to an I.V. and shackled to the wall. And that’s only beginning. To say much more would risk potential spoilers and plot giveaways and that’s not something I do in my reviews. Here’s what I will say:

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The movie fires on all cylinders. It goes in one direction, spins off in another and then pops back again leaving you with all of the emotional ups-and-downs that a proper thriller should. The characters are relatable, layered and the actors all do a perfect job of making you feel like you are right there in the bunker with them. John Goodman reminds us all of just how versatile he is as an actor and he delivers an unbelievable performance as former Naval engineer Howard in whose underground doomsday bunker our characters find themselves residing following a chemical / biological/alien attack. (The film’s timing leads me to believe that the events being shown to us happen during or perhaps just slightly after the events of the original ‘Cloverfield’ film.) Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays Michelle, has a very impressive acting career and her performance here shows you why as she runs the emotional spectrum from captive to survivor. John Gallagher, Jr. rounds out the trio as Emmett, Howard’s neighbor and the man who helped Howard build the bunker. He provides the levity for the group as needed and is Michelle’s confidant in their scenario. Being as it is a small cast for a such large budget film, the movie wouldn’t have come off nearly as well as it did had each actor not been so adept at delivering on their individual roles.

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Again, I can’t say much more without giving plot points and spoilers. Suffice to say that director Dan Trachtenberg does a wonderful job of keeping the story moving forward without ever once letting it drag or feel slow. ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ delivers everything that should be expected of it while leaving the movie goer feeling comfortably satisfied at the end. I would easily rate this as a “See It Now” film for opening weekend!!

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