Directed by Dan Trachtenberg

Written by Josh Campbell (story, screenplay), Matthew Stuecken (story, screenplay), Damien Chazelle (screenplay)

Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has decided to split from her boyfriend, hurrying to get away. He begins to call and distract her from the road, and soon she has a serious car crash. She wakes up with a drip and needle in her arm, but on closer inspection her surroundings don’t seem right: the walls are made of concrete bricks, and her left leg is locked against the wall. This is no hospital. Due to a chemical attack on the US, she is deep underground with Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) and Howard (John Goodman), who saved Michelle from the crash and owns the bunker. Michelle is sceptical at first about the attack on the US, and makes attempts to escape. Her mind however changes after she sees the effect of what is happening to a human outside the bunker. From here, claustrophobic fun ensues.

This is one of those films that deserves to be seen without much knowledge about the events of the film, so I’ll refrain from going any further.

I must say this film was not on my radar, and I am not sure how exactly it is related to the 2008 film Cloverfield. It seems like it is based in the same universe as the original movie, but apart from this the two films couldn’t be any different. Gone (thank you lord!) is the shaky found footage shooting style, save for one scene involving running, and in its place is some smooth, well executed cinematography that isn’t intrusive. Yes, I am still talking about the sequel(?) to Cloverfield!: the cinematography here is pretty great. What also had an impact a few times was the sound editing, the stakes of certain events seemed raised thanks to some nice tricks. On the other side of the coin though, the score was incredibly manipulative, and essentially gave away a few moments that would have had a bigger impact if the music weren’t there at all. The music used though is well composed, I liked the sound of it but I didn’t enjoy how it dictated certain scenes.

This is a movie based in a small space, meaning the dialogue and acting need to be on point to carry the attention of the viewers. Apart from a few glitches that can be forgiven, the script is decent, though not great, and the acting is for the most part solid all around. Mary Elizabeth Winstead overacts a little bit, but that is being picky; she does a good job considering the situations her character finds herself in. Gallagher Jr. is also great in a smaller role, but the real attraction here is John Goodman’s Howard. His awkward but hospitable nature is consistently in question, and he easily steals each scene he is in. I’ve never seen him in a role quite like this one, and unsurprisingly he nails it.

Unfortunately, the film suffers from a third act and ending that didn’t gel with this particular viewer, but it didn’t ruin the tense fun that is 4.5 beer - no beer topapparent beforehand. Somewhat surprisingly, this cousin of Cloverfield is a well shot and well acted tense thriller. If it had ended on a better note, I’d definitely give it a higher score.

Go see it! It is nothing like the original.

Four and a half beers out of of a sixer.