I cannot give this review without issuing a spoiler alert. If you haven’t already seen the movie I suggest not reading this review unless you want to know what happens in the end.

“10 Cloverfield Lane” is another movie with J.J. Abrams name attached to it. That fact, and the fact that the first movie named “Cloverfield” in 2008 are the only resemblances to one another. But, that is enough to compare the two movies and “almost” consider “10 Cloverfield Lane” as a sequel—but not quite.

The movie stars John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr. Dan Trachtenberg’s first time direction is backed up and supported by J.J. Abrams whose influence can be felt throughout this film.

The movie gives a creepy feeling to anyone watching it. The classic story of a young girl held captive by a homicidal lunatic, with, of course, right wing wacko leanings, played absolutely masterfully by John Goodman. But, this young-girl-held-captive-by-creepy-pervert scenario has some twists to it that shake that old formula and build a pretty decent high concept story line. That is if you favor hard suspense, with lots of sexual tension without the actual gratuitous rape scenes and are interested in stories that show the world being invaded by space aliens.

It might not sound like it, but it works, trust me.

The other twist is a third wheel to the Goodman/Winstead confrontation, a simple but decent guy, played by John Gallagher, who we learn convinced Goodman’s “Howard” to let him in his bunker to survive whatever drove them there in the first place.

Most of the movie is bound by some unseen enemy which has attacked and presumably killed most of the American population, Howard (Goodman) blaming it on the Chinese, or the “Ruskies.” You can tell by his language, mannerisms, and perceived world view, that he has extreme right wing tendencies. Just once I wish Hollywood would build these characters to be left wing supported like a combined Muslim offensive against the United States, which would be much more believable than hanging on to a cold war lunacy which has long passed us by. Most people watching this movie were probably not even born the last time “the Ruskies” actually were a threat.

Someone should tell these Hollywood writers that the Russians don’t hate us anymore, at least not like the Islamic world. There are tensions, sure, but we can talk to and understand them. And, the same goes for the Communist Chinese. Are they even Communist in 2016?

The story bears some similarities to some other like movies that have come before, disappointingly weakening the script. One, appears to be an expansion of the scene from the Steven Spielberg’s 2005 remake of “War of the Worlds” when Tom Cruz and his daughter were taken in by the Tim Robbins character. Cruz has to deal with Robbins’ character only to be thrust into a world which questions which nemesis was worse, Tim Robbins slimy performance or the Martians.

The same happens in “10 Cloverfield Lane” Michele (Winstead) is forced to confront Howard in order to make her escape, and like “War of the Worlds” faces the same malevolent inhuman enemy when she finally makes it outside. Thus, we have the tagline for the movie, “Monsters come in many forms.”

But, we really aren’t treated to the similarity of the Steven Spielberg story until the last fifteen minutes of the movie when Michele escapes and makes her way to the sunshine and we find out for the first time who they are hiding from. Noticing a flock of birds flying in formation across the background of a beautiful blue sky immediately gives Michele a sense of relief that what Howard had told her about the air being contaminated was false. Granting a momentary relief that this might be the end of a really bad dream.

But, that relief is short lived almost as quickly she learns that there was indeed an attack but it was not of this earth. It was something more sinister. Like in the first “Cloverfield” movie, where we don’t learn about aliens and what is destroying New York City until half way through the film “10 Cloverfield Lane’s” aliens also don’t appear until very late in the film. I have to believe that is part of Abrams’ influence.

Fans of the genre might see a connection to the 2011 film “Battle: Los Angeles” which Santa Monica is substituted for East Texas and you experience what might be the beginning of the attack of “10 Cloverfield Lane.” The alien ships have a similar look and sound you will not mistake if you have seen both movies. The writers have borrowed from these kinds of stories, either consciously or unconsciously. Either way, they make it work. And, what you have is director Trachtenberg’s thoroughly enjoyable film

This high concept structure provides the significant suspense built on two planes. One, is the “monster” inside the bunker, below ground, the life work of our wacko “Howard” character, and then the enemy above ground, an alien invasion from somewhere, out there. We don’t learn enough about them to know anything more than they are just not us leaving the audience to consider the evil of both of Michele’s predicaments. , .

Our heroin escapes both “monsters” and at the end of the movie turns toward Houston, Texas where she heard on a radio frequency in the car she took from Howard’s secluded farm that the resistance was forming among the human survivors and we are fighting back.

All in all not a bad movie. It will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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