10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr, Bradley Cooper

Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg

Rating: 1 2 3 4

By the time I finally got round to seeing JJ Abrams' monster movie Cloverfield it was already well past its sell-by date. Found footage had been used and abused so many times it was hard to remember that it and The Blair Witch Project had once seemed as innovative and ground-breaking for their movie-making style as they had for their marketing campaigns.

10 Cloverfield Lane however – not so much a sequel or prequel but a companion piece I'd say – is not a found footage movie, thank goodness. For starters, in its post apocalyptic world there are only three people left to film anything anyway and nobody else to find it. Or is there...?

John Gallagher Jr and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as survivors in a bunker in 10 Cloverfield Lane

When twentysomething Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes from a car crash, she finds herself deep underground in a Texan doomsday bunker. According to her saviour – or is he her captor? – she has narrowly escaped a huge nuclear/chemical explosion which has left the outside world toxic and devastated. Or has it...?

You get the drift... and I'm going to stop with the dot dot dots before I spoil this really rather splendid and hugely enjoyable movie for you.

John Goodman as Howard in 10 Cloverfield Lane

The ever-reliable John Goodman is superb as the dogged survivalist who's been single-mindedly planning for the apocalypse most of his life; managing to be both sinister and avuncular, he's very different from your stereotypical crazed bunker-dweller (think The Divide – yikes!), his ponderous size both threatening and reassuring. Just how fast can a man that large move...? (Oops, I did it again.)

Tense, gripping, tightly scripted and perfectly paced, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a solid, classy horror/thriller, presenting characters we can get behind in a situation that seems both unimaginably awful and yet weirdly familiar. (Ever been stuck indoors all day in a holiday cottage? That.) Don't let the 12A certificate fool you, however: whether the true scenario is World War Three, World War Z or more your Josef Fritzl situation, this film has the potential to spark some serious nightmares. See it and spoil a good night's sleep before someone spoils the ending...

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