Knee-jerk review: "10 Cloverfield Lane"

1. A lean little story, just three characters in a single location.  But very effective.  It'd work just as well on stage.
2. But that ending... it's a little out there.  It didn't have to go that gonzo to make the story satisfying.
3. JJ Abrams continues to be a little too coy and cutesy for our tastes.  The sly way he's trying to make this film a sort of sideways psuedo-sequel to 2008's underrated masterpiece Cloverfield is a marketing gimmick and nothing else.  It may have helped draw people to the theater, but in some ways putting "Cloverfield" in the title undermines the story and suggests Abrams and his crew didn't have faith in the movie to work on its own.
4. John Goodman looks so unhealthy.  But he always delivers the goods.
5. The title sequence, contrasting loud crashes with chilling silence, is a knockout.
6. Perchloric acid.  Ouch.
7. We're suckers for the is-it-paranoia-or-is-it-really-happening? thrillers.  And this is a very good one.
8. We know it's a great premise when we find ourselves wishing we'd thought of it first.  Elegant simplicity.
9. It's a finely-tuned script (credited to Josh Campbell, Matthew Stucken and Damien Chazelle) that would be great to study in film school.  Audience expectations are continually challenged, the plot takes some surprising left-hand turns that never feel forced, and the story ends with a fairly textbook example of a protagonist arc.  
10. Like we said, we're going to ignore some of what happens at the end.  It's fun to watch, but it doesn't connect with the low-simmer tension of the rest of the movie.
11. Even we could fit, we wouldn't go shimmying in that vent.
12. Worth a look.

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