‘Cloverfield’ sequel strays from the original

3 out of 5 starsAfter six years, the second film in the “Cloverfield” franchise has hit theaters and is just as anxiety inducing as the first.
The sequel, “10 Cloverfield Lane,” is a whirlwind of suspense and apocalyptic fantasy with a psychological twist. 
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who has had previous roles in“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and “The Thing,” plays Michelle, the film’s protagonist, who wakes up bewildered after a violent car crash in an underground bunker with two strange men.

Illustration by ALYSSA HANDELMANN
[/media-credit] Illustration by ALYSSA HANDELMANN

Her captors, Howard (John Goodman) and Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.) explain she has been saved from a doomsday-inducing chemical attack, and they may be the only survivors.
The film follows Michelle as she tries to reconcile her distrust of the men, her desperation to escape and her fear of what may or may not be occurring outside the claustrophobic bunker.
In his directorial debut, Dan Trachtenberg masterfully mixes aspects of science fiction and psychological thriller to create a daring and original film.
For those hoping for a similar experience to 2008’s “Cloverfield” the films diverge greatly, as “10 Cloverfield Lane” was not originally conceptualized as a sequel to the first film, though producer J.J. Abrams claims the film is the “spiritual successor” to the first.
While “Cloverfield” is mock-filmed as if through a home camcorder, “10 Cloverfield Lane” has polished cinematography and contrasts stylistically from the original film.
In terms of performances, Winstead is inventive and unrelenting as the protagonist, but ultimately plays the worn-out role of a survivor with little emotional depth.
In contrast, Goodman’s depiction of a delusional man who can be both calm and collected but prone to violent outbursts is gripping and propels the narrative forward.
Ultimately the film is entertaining and thrilling in some cliche ways. However, it should be commended for both its unique plot and for mixing genres.