Directed By: Dan Trachtenberg
Written By: Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken
Time: 103 min
Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher Jr.
Plot: After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack.
Comments: I knew nothing about the film until the trailer surfaced a few months ago. The trailer didn’t show a lot which is a good thing. It had a great cast which included John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Goodman looked wonderfully creepy and crazy. While not a sequel to Cloverfield it looked like a different story but same universe. After much convincing while my father was visiting we went and saw it.
Michelle (Winstead) flees her apartment and fiancé, driving away into the night to parts unknown. Visibly upset she ignores any phone calls from her fiancé as well as the radio reports about a large unexplainable southern blackout. Suddenly her car skids and tumbles off the road before anyone really knows what is going on. When she comes to she finds herself in an underground bunker, her wounds tended to, but she is chained to the wall. Howard (Goodman), her rescuer, is a strange doomsday prepper who explains that he cannot let her leave for the world they knew is gone. Chemical attack, WWIII, or aliens….Howard isnt sure, but he knows that Michelle’s only chance at surviving is to stay there. Along with Emmet, Howards neighbor who helped him build the bunker, they try to figure out what is happening and how to trust one another. But is everyone telling the truth?
Let’s get some little things out of the way. The soundtrack was wonderful. Thank you Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica, Outlander, The Walking Dead). It complemented the film well since there is very little dialogue. Its jarring when it needs to be and quietly menacing in other spots. The trio of Goodman, Gallagher, and Winstead was amazing. There was tension, confusion, anticipation, laughter…so many scenes I would love to talk about. But this is one of those films that I think it is better going in not knowing a damn thing.
One of the things I really enjoyed was the keep you guessing aspect. Goodman does this oh so well. You think you have things figured out and then you wonder if it’s all just a red herring. Then you start wondering again. Things make sense. Then they don’t. As I said John Goodman is bloody fantastic. Sometimes he is creepy and controlling, only a few fries short of the Happy meal. And then another moment he is likable, funny, and garners some sympathy.
As a whole I thought it was a good film, though not an amazing film. While some elements were no surprise, I was entertained. I happen to like the film more without the last twenty minutes, but understand its inclusion (admittedly this is why I did not give it 4 popcorns). For a first time big feature film Trachtenberg did a great job. Worth seeing.
Rent/Cinema? Cinema. I thought the tension was delightful and worth seeing on the big screen.