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10 Cloverfield Lane is a surprisingly excellent exercise in suspense, a dedication to style that supersedes the cliches of what could’ve been found in such a film. While there are plot points that may be difficult to follow, the film’s tension building is a class act in directing, and the mystery never ceases to be engaging. A film like 10 Cloverfield Lane is bound to spark discussions, but it’s best knowing nothing about going in and relishing in the joy of the cinematic experience.

While genre films like this are often missing a strong character arc, 10 Cloverfield Lane is actually proficient in its character arcs, as the limited environment makes the characters more subject to personal revelations. Mary Eizabeth Winstead is an excellent lead, and the subtlety in which she is able to project terror helps to progress a very solid character arc. Also great is John Goodman in a strong character role, who gives a complexity and intensity that is only further evidence to his excellence as a performer.

10 Cloverfield Lane is a film all about mood, and if the audience is willing to buy into the zaniness than they will be rewarded by a rich thriller. The combination of great performances and intriguing mystery make for one of the year’s most surprisingly great films. Grade: -A