10 Cloverfield Lane Blu-ray Review

'10 Cloverfield Lane' Blu-ray Review: Of monsters and sequels

June 21, 2016Ben MK

A film populated by only three characters, 10 Cloverfield Lane stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle, a woman in the midst of leaving her significant other when her car is violently wrecked. Awakening in a makeshift underground bunker, she meets a stranger named Howard (John Goodman), who informs her that an attack — maybe chemical, maybe nuclear, maybe alien — has rendered the air above them completely toxic.

Not surprisingly, Michelle is a little more than skeptical. After all, Howard is the kind of guy who has "wacky conspiracy theorist" written all over him, which makes it all the more confusing when she meets Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), Howard's neighbor who's also holed up in there with them, and who claims to be an eyewitness to the attack. Could Howard's proclamation that doomsday has arrived be genuine? Or are Michelle and Emmett simply being held hostage by a madman? More importantly, can they afford to sit idly by until the truth is revealed?

Masterfully directed by first-time feature director Dan Trachtenberg and scripted by Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken and Damien Chazelle, 10 Cloverfield Lane is many things, including a first-rate thriller with no shortage of heart-stopping moments, a suspenseful mystery and an intensely-acted character drama. What it isn't, however, is a large-scale, POV-style action-adventure, ditching the urban, post-apocalyptic setting of the first Cloverfield in favor of one that may or may not be post-apocalyptic, but which is most definitely much more claustrophobic.

10 Cloverfield Lane exudes an enormous amount of atmosphere and tension, and its third-act revelation will no doubt catch all but the most attuned viewers completely off-guard. If you're a Cloverfield fan who has high expectations for this follow-up, the result certainly does not disappoint. But if you're approaching the movie with zero preconceptions, 10 Cloverfield Lane will absolutely blow you away.

Despite the film's relatively low budget, 10 Cloverfield Lane's 1080p presentation never fails to impress, with an across-the-board solid image that highlights the claustrophobic set design and the visual effects, a healthy color scheme, and deep black levels and strong contrast that prevent some of the darker bunker scenes from descending into murkiness. On the audio side, the disc's primary soundtrack is a rather low-key Dolby Atmos mix, one that's driven primarily by the dialogue and composer Bear McCreary's atmospheric score. That is, until the film's final act, when things really let loose and the sound design opens up considerably.

Paramount's two-disc Blu-ray release includes an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy, a DVD and the following extras:

  • Commentary by Director Dan Trachtenberg and Producer J.J. Abrams - The pair talk about the film's opening sequence, the Easter eggs, the score and sound design, the visual effects, the different versions of various scenes, the performances, the editing, the costume design and more.
  • Cloverfield Too (9:07) - A piece about the film's origins, Trachtenberg's direction and the characters and the actors' performances.
  • Bunker Mentality (3:48) - Production Designer Ramsey Avery and Director of Photography Jeff Cutter talk about their work creating and lighting the bunker set.
  • Duck and Cover (1:44) - Costume Designer Meagan Luster talks about the design of a key costume for Michelle.
  • Spin-Off (3:52) - Senior Effects Supervisor Matt Kutcher Sr. talks about his work realizing a couple of the film's key vehicular sequences.
  • Kelvin Optical (6:07) - A look at the film's editing, visual effects and sound design.
  • Fine Tuned (6:42) - Composer Bear McCreary discusses the film's score, its themes and the instruments used to create them.
  • End of Story (3:19) - A look at the movie as both an original story and a sequel to 2008's Cloverfield.

10 Cloverfield Lane is available from Paramount Home Entertainment as of June 14th, 2016. The Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 44 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on March 11th, 2016.

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