I’ve been pretty impressed with the films I’ve seen in the last six weeks. Well, almost. Two out of three isn’t bad…
10 Cloverfield Lane
Described as the ‘cousin’ to JJ Abrams original cult found footage ‘monster’ hit Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane is not a sequel. Repeat, it is definitely not a sequel. This is director Dan Trachtenberg‘s first foray into the world of the feature film and he does not disappoint. We’re dragged kicking and screaming straight into the suspense with the atmosphere thick with tension throughout. Mary Elizabeth Winstead leads the thrills having being taken captive in an underground bunker and John Goodman delivers a captivating and terrifying performance as Howard – if it wasn’t for the odd mysterious rumble from above, you’d forget about the outside world completely. Coming straight out of left-field, 10 Cloverfield Lane will shock, surprise and horrify. The film lives in that perfect space between suspense, horror and sci-fi that, for once, will actually leave you yearning for a sequel.
Modern cinema has dealt with witches, demons, vampires and beasts from below with varying degrees of finesse over the years but in Robert Eggers‘ directorial debut The Witch, we delve into darker territory. Eggers explores a different side to witches through the story of an excommunicated Puritan family setting up a new life by the woods. Eggers gives the plot room to breathe with an eerie foreboding presence felt via the use of space, silence and sumptuous cinematography. Anna Taylor Joy is a surefire breakout star in the making and Ralph Ineson‘s performance as God fearing Father William treads the line between fear and madness with perfection. The horror genre has been drowning under the weight of flimsy found footage nonsense, MacDonald’s level CGI effects and threadbare plot lines in recent times but The Witch proves that real terror doesn’t always come in the form of cheap shocks.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Two of Americas much-loved comic book superheroes (in fact, three if you’re counting Wonder Woman) come together on screen for Zack Snyder‘s heavy-weight superhero slugfest. We’re presented with an older Batman in Ben Affleck, who’s been fighting Gotham City’s worst dirtbags for over twenty years, whilst Henry Cavill‘s Superman struggles to find acceptance amongst the human race. Holes in the plot begin to unravel as the motivations of each character are unclear. Bruce Wayne sulks around, influenced by his nightmares and Superman only really appears to care about Lois Lane. Jesse Eisenberg‘s confused portrayal of Lex Luthor sways from cringe-worthy to laughable and the last half of the film explodes into a mess of joyless action. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman gives a little bit of intrigue but it’s not enough to save this film – a square-jawed, serious, affair that rips the heart and soul out of these iconic characters.
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