REVIEW: ‘Shadow in the Cloud’ soars with fun action

Chloe Grace Moretz’s characters always seem to find themselves in dangerous situations. There’s no exception in “Shadow in the Cloud.”

Moretz plays Maude in “Shadow,” an air officer who boards a bomber in the Pacific Theater of World War II under orders to deliver a package. As soon as she gets on the plane, she’s met with resistance from the bombing crew, but they allow her to fly with them because of her commanding officer’s orders.

Because they didn’t really want her to come on the trip, though, they have her sit in the lower ball turret compartment for the flight. Maude accepts where she’s at and just tries to go along with the ride for a time. However, dangers begin appearing in the skies. Not only are there Japanese fighters in the midst, Maude also soon comes face-to-face with a gremlin creature working to dismantle pieces of the plane.

“Shadow in the Cloud” is a real blast of a movie, and it’s a shame that the pandemic prevented a big screen debut. This is the type of popcorn movie one should get to see at the theater.

The film kicks off somewhat like an espionage piece, with Maude being secretive about what she’s delivering as part of the war effort. That changes quickly, though, as it soon morphs into a creature feature mixed with an action movie set during World War II, and it makes the most of it.

This movie is somewhat of a tale of two halves. The time dedicated to each may not be 50-50, but there are two clear portions to the picture. The first follows Maude in the turret ball, having to defend herself from these creatures and responding to ongoing negative comments from the rest of the crew.

The second piece of the picture showcases Maude running on pure adrenaline as she goes to other parts of the plane, defending it from gremlins and Japanese fighters alike. The two sections give the movie’s action a bit of variety, the first being claustrophobic and more intimate, while the second is larger in scope, with a lot more going on.

Screenshot 2021-01-07 at 11.07.00 PM
Courtesy Endeavor Content and Vertical Entertainment.

With this being a creature feature, one expects things to get a bit absurd at times. That is absolutely the case here, but the movie basically invites a viewer to suspend their disbelief and have fun with the action that’s going on.

It’s over-the-top and schlocky, but the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, so one can get lost in the action. This is summed up in a glorious sequence where Maude is basically fist-fighting one of the gremlins.

Character-wise, Maude really works as a protagonist. From start-to-finish she has a simple mission, and she’s dedicated to fight like hell to complete it. That works well in a action-thriller like this, and the way she fights through adversity makes her an easy character to root for.

Moretz is no stranger to this type of role, and as expected, she succeeds in this part. She is able to be vulnerable when needed, while also turning on the bad-ass switch at times to solve problems.

This is really her show, too, since the supporting cast is off screen a great deal while she’s in the turret. In both voice over and when they’re on screen, the rest of the cast do bring a tough as nails air crew to life.

The biggest detriment to “Shadow in the Cloud” are the special effects, with the CGI looking pretty rough at times. This is unfortunately true with the creatures, as well. One wishes the monsters would have been done with more practical effects.

The movie is still shot alright, though. The scenes in the turret are properly claustrophobic, for example. Another positive for the movie is its fantastic music, which really helps give the movie an identity.

This flick has a B-movie grade story and some lower tier special effects, but it’s still a fun watch. 3.85 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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