Cloverfield Sequel Makes You 'Gasp for Air'
John Goodman is 'perfect' in film that keeps you guessing
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2016 12:16 PM CST

(Newser) – A woman wakes in a bunker and is told the world outside is uninhabitable after some kind of apocalyptic disaster. So starts the JJ Abrams-produced 10 Cloverfield Lane, which Abrams calls a "blood relative" to 2008's Cloverfield. Whatever its relation, viewers are in for a treat as the film has a 91% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's what critics are saying.

  • The film revolves around three characters—including "a creepier John Goodman than you've ever seen"—hiding out in a bunker "with their shifting allegiances and a power dynamic that never seems clear," writes Jocelyn Noveck at the AP. Eventually, director Dan Trachtenberg "launches into a climax that will have many talking—though I found it somewhat disappointing and frustratingly baffling," Noveck writes. A warning: "your nails may not survive."
  • James Berardinelli agrees it's "packed with suspense and tension and offers some of the best bait-and-switch work of any recent psychological thriller." Goodman, with "the rare talent of being able to play both a cuddly, likeable guy and a frighteningly dangerous one," is "perfect" as doomsday prepper Howard, he writes ReelViews. But the last 15 minutes "don't work as a way to wrap up this story or as an introduction to a larger (generic) canvas."

  • The ending doesn't bother Peters Travers. The film has "everything a psychological thriller needs to shatter your nerves—and then kicks it up a notch," he writes at Rolling Stone. "You can't take your eyes off" Goodman. Trachtenberg, meanwhile, lets "the claustrophobia of the bunker seep into your blood stream until you're jumping at everything that goes bump in the night," he says. "As for the movie's impact—to paraphrase Donald Trump, it's going to be huge."
  • "Part of the beauty of the film is that you don't know what the heck is going on, and you don't want to know," writes Mara Reinstein at Us Weekly. Her advice: "Check your nerves at the theater door. Take a deep breath while you still can. … Don't try to outguess the narrative. And, for the love of Google, don’t scour the web for third-act spoilers." This is "old-fashioned scary."