I'm pleased to report that I found this to be a cracker!
One proviso, though. If
anyone remembers the equally enjoyable 'Cloverfield' of 2008, it would
be better to ditch any thought that this might be some kind of sequel. Anticipating a connection between that film and this is unhelpful, and if there is one it's only tangential.
Elizabeth Winstead plays a young woman driving alone when she's
involved in a car crash. She wakes up to find herself apparently a
prisoner in a sparsely furnished locked room, chained to a wall, and
with a medical drip attached to her injured body.
her 'gaoler' (John Goodman) arrives with some food for her, he explains
that he's saved her life by bringing her down to his underground
residence as the air above has been contaminated and that there is no
one left alive. How and why this came about is left rather vague
(warfare? accident? aliens?). She finds the story hard to believe and
doesn't trust him, thinking that he's made up a pretext for keeping her
imprisoned with him, despite his assuring her that he's no 'pervert'.
She then discovers that she's not the only one being detained. In
another room is a young man of similar age (John Gallagher Jnr) who's
been here for several days and been fed the same story, which he seems
to accept more readily than she does. They are both shortly given free
access to the rest of his subterranean abode where they have meals
together, though they both have to spend periods alone in their
respective quarters behind locked doors. Otherwise, all doors and
windows to the outside world are bolted and sealed. Goodman remains disappointed by her sceptical attitude to his being her 'saviour' and her continuing desire to be released.
first I found John Goodman in the role not so easy to take - his
considerable backwork of memorable characters (quite often funny) in previous films
always leaving a deep impression, no matter how weighty or short his
appearance is. But soon I found him exuding the true menace and
ambiguity that this character requires - a dormant volcano which can
erupt spectacularly at any time, and does. He's terrific here! The other
two actors, not yet having anything like the same body of work to their
credit, are both very good too.
this claustrophobic setting there are some truly nail-biting sequences
with the tension ratcheted up to max in most effective manner. If there
were one or two 'clunky' bits they didn't detract from the effectiveness
of the whole. (Why do so many women have their ear-rings drop off in
the most 'convenient' places?)
final slice of the film may well be regarded as not quite as satisfying
as all that went before - it certainly lets rip with being 'wild'! -
but it rounds off the film fairly well, and at least it gives a sort of
reason as to why the Goodman figure was keeping these two captive, even
though on reflection it raises rather more questions than it answers.
Director Dan Trachtenberg (his first full-length directing feature here?) is a name to look out for on this evidence.
Overall, it's good, taut, escapist fun. I enjoyed it and can heartily recommend...................7.5
23 minutes ago