A sort-of-sequel to JJ Abrams’ lo-fi alien invasion found footage (what a terrible phrase, what an irritating genre) film Cloverfield, this is – thankfully – very different.
Hitchcockian parallels have been drawn by some critics, and the opening minutes do have a Psycho feel to them as Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Michelle packs her bags, leaves her lover and drives off on her own down deserted roads. With a shocking whack, she’s rammed off the highway.
When she awakes, she’s chained up in a sparse room and John Goodman is towering over her. He tells her he’s saved her life and that she’s safe now.
We discover, along with Michelle, that’s she’s captive in an underground bunker but, as Goodman’s Howard tells her, no-one outside is alive. “There’s been an attack,” he says. “They’re all dead.”
Do we believe him? Michelle tries to escape a few times then realises it’s futile.
So we hole up with her, Goodman and a hick called Emmett (John Gallagher Jr), who may or may not be captive but certainly believes it’s not safe outside.
Debut director Dan Trachtenberg keeps things lively enough but I couldn’t help feel there was a lot of “filler” dialogue between the set pieces of Michelle’s various escape attempts. I can’t fault Winstead or Goodman, both excellent, although this is not really anything more than a movie in which a pretty woman in a vest squeezes through tight spaces while a fat bloke tries to stop her.
I did get tense and was mildly intrigued by the set-up for a while, but in the end I left feeling ripped off, toyed with and not giving a monkey’s.