The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

The Cloverfield Paradox
Director: Julius Onah
Writer: Oren Uziel
Prequel to: Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl, John Ortiz, Chris O’Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki, Roger Davies
Seen on: 16.5.2020

Earth is quickly nearing the point of no return in the energy crisis. Aboard the Cloverfield Space Station, Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is working with her colleagues on a particle accelerator, hoping that they can make it work which would mean a near-endless energy supply. But so far, they have not been successful and they are running out of possibilities to try. But when thing finally seem to go right, the consequeces of their experiments are definitely not what they expected.

The Cloverfield Paradox is a decent space station thriller/horror film. It wouldn’t have necessarily needed the connection to the other two Cloverfield films, but that it can be watched independently is one of its strength, I’d say. As is the awesome cast.

The film poster showing the starry universe.

The Cloverfield Paradox won’t really take you by surprise. Not only because it is a prequel so, at least if you’ve seen the other films, you know more or less where things are headed and that things will not be ending greatly. But also because it doesn’t really break the mold when it comes to space station horror. Things go as you’d expect them to go beat by beat. Given that, in the end what did come as a surprise to me was the strength of the ending for me – the last scene really resonated for me in all its bleakness.

The film does have a better cast than most space station horror films do and their performances are really strong all around. And I’m not just saying this because I have been crushing on Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Elizabeth Debicki and Chris O’Dowd for a while now, though that is a definite plus, of course. The script is a little lazy with characterizations, I thought, but they all manage to give their characters personality in the end.

Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) in her space suit.

There are some nice horror moments, the strongest definitely when it appears that the ship gains a life of its own (when Mundy loses his arm and Jensen is found). But overall there, too, is a sense of familiarity that is at odds with the attempts to create scary moments. I guess, if this is your first space station horror, it would work, but if it isn’t, things fall a little flat.

In any case, I had a pretty good time watching the film. It’s not over-the-top great, but at least it never got boring, especially not when there are so many pretty people to look at while they do good acting.

Tam (Ziyi Zhang) and Schmidt (Daniel Brühl) looking at the machines on the spacecraft.

Summarizing: you could definitely do worse than watch this, regardless of whether you’ve seen the other films in the series.

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