Following several delays and months of speculation, the first look at the new entry in executive producer J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield franchise came in the form of an ad spot during the Super Bowl. It was the first-ever official announcement ofJulius Onah’s The Cloverfield Paradox, and with it came the surprise that just two hours later, the film would be released worldwide on Netflix. It‘s an absolutely unheard of, crazy marketing strategy that worked, instantly making me as interested in watching the new film as I was in continuing the excitingly close football game that, for a mere 30 seconds, a brief trailer had managed to steal the spotlight from.
But with the film’s unique release aside, Paradox unfortunately watches quite pitifully. Stocked with a complicated mess of a plot, a large cast of insubstantial characters (even more damning due to the sheer talent of the actors that comprise the roles), and barely any driving force behind its uninteresting narrative, Paradox as a film remains stranded — not so much unlike its focal-point space station and its crew when they’re seemingly left helpless in a separate dimension from their own.
From first-time director Dan Trachtenberg and producer J.J. Abrams comes 10 Cloverfield Lane, a curious psychological thriller that has been billed as a spiritual successor to 2008’s Cloverfield, but may or may not have any explicit ties to it outside of the brand name (that’s up to you to find out).
10 Cloverfield Lane takes place in a single location with only three characters. Our main character is Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a young woman who has awoken locked up in a cell after she was involved in a car crash. She does everything she can to escape before her captor — a middle-aged, heavyset man named Howard (John Goodman) — walks in, pistol holstered to his waist.
As Michelle begs to be let go and even attempts to attack Howard, he explains to Michelle that he is actually doing her a service by locking her up in his bunker. He tells her of what has happened in the outside world, citing an attack that he claims could have been caused by the Russians, or maybe even Martians, and that the only safe place left in the world is right there in the underground bunker he built.