Seemingly emerging out of nowhere, JJ Abrams-produced ‘spiritual successor’ to monster movie ‘Cloverfield’ (2008) is an assured thriller that morphs in scope and genre expertly and showcases the range and scale of cinema magnificently. With this review being spoiler-free, all I can say is don’t go into this expecting one thing or the other specifically, but most definitely, do find out for yourselves.
With only three characters forming the central cast, the first act of this film establishes relationships under duress, including suspicion, jealously and humour. The humour is light, realistic and just enough to endear us to the plight of all concerned. But this is not, and does not set out to be, a ‘funny’ film.
If there was time to dwell perhaps the tears would have flowed, but as we are bound to the increasingly urgent plight of Michelle, like her we are too busy holding our breath to think about it. As with the humour, however, what we lose in reflection, we gain in nail-biting anticipation.
It is hard to write a spoiler-free description of why and how the cheers come, but as you can guess with suspense, the pressure must blow at some point, and Abrams pitches it in waves of jaw dropping jeopardy and revelation.
It’s a sure sign of good film-making when the fear comes mainly from nothing that is shown on screen and instead from empathy with the characters. The performances of the excellent cast seem to be magnified in intensity by the claustrophobic setting of the bunker in which the majority of the film takes place.
Bonus Category: Big trouble in little Movie +3
I’m going to have to be vague here, but I’ve rarely seen a film so expertly blend genres and not just get away with it, but make the resulting hybrid its own.
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