10 Cloverfield Lane ★★★★

[UPDATE: Here's my review at my website Looking Closer.]

I went to a concert that had been advertised as an 8 p.m. show. Surprise: The ticket-taker told me that the band wouldn't actually come on until 11 p.m. So I went to the movies, spur of the moment, and this was the best option. I really had not seen this coming. What a surprisingly satisfying twist.

And that's what I kept thinking to myself through the film's various twists and turns: "I really had not seen that coming. What a surprisingly satisfying twist."

10 Cloverfield Lane is kind of awesome. I had so much fun. I've never seen Cloverfield, and I'm glad to say that I didn't need to in order to appreciate this.

So much goodness:

The soundtrack.

The editing.

The Chinese puzzle box of the film's deceptively simple underground bunker environments.

The jump-scares.

The sound effects — especially the door to Michelle's cell, the creak of which seems to have been synthesized from the sound of a crowbar to the skull and a woman's final scream.

The young star: Mary Elizabeth Winstead gets the lead role she's deserved. I wanted to see her take a big swing for the fences, and she took it, and it was awesome. The film seems to argue that she is our new Sigourney Weaver, and I feel no reason to argue.

The veteran: Hooray for the return of the great John Goodman, in the kind of role he's had far too rarely since Barton Fink.

The finale: Which could have gone any number of directions, and goes for the most insane, which turns out to be enormously satisfying.

Don't let anybody spoil this movie's twists for you. In retrospect, I have to salute whoever designed the trailer for this film, which gives away surprisingly little of the film's grand scheme.

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