REVIEW: Shadow in the Cloud (2020)

Maude Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz), a WWII pilot, is travelling with a confidential package when she encounters an evil presence and mistrust from her fellow airmen on board the flight.

Shadow in the Cloud is one of those films that I feel is best to go into it knowing as little as possible, and that includes not watching the trailer. All I knew before watching was “Chloë Grace Moretz in a WWII movie and things go wrong” so how everything went wrong was always a nice and sometimes funny surprise.

Shadow in the Cloud is pretty much a single location film and it makes the most of the restrictions that offers and how fun filmmaking can lead to some interesting situations. The single location in question is the plane, and specifically the Sperry Ball turret, the spherical gun turret on the plane’s underbelly. Maude spends most of the film there and her only communication with the crew is via the radio. While the majority of the crew are crass and mistrusting of Maude, their dialogue via the radio only furthers Maude’s characterisation and Moretz give a great performance. Her Maude is capable and strong but also scared and reactive. She is a character who is easy to root for as you learn about her the same time the crew does. Plus, with the men being pretty sexist (and in some cases racist) and generally acting in an unlikable manner, it’s easy to be on Maude’s side.

Have to give a shoutout to composer Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper. A synth heavy, techno score is not something I’d expect in a WWII film but it ends up suiting the tone of the whole film perfectly. With the help of the score and having Maude in such a claustrophobic spot the tension amps up nicely and when Maude gets her big hero moment for the first time, the synths kick in and it’s a thoroughly entertaining sequence.

Shadow in the Cloud is a bit silly with its genre mash up of war drama with supernatural/horror elements but it does it well and entertainingly so thanks to being grounded by Moretz’s performance. The dogfights are thrilling, the supernatural presence is suitably creepy and overall, it’s just a really unexpectedly fun film.

If you like Overlord then I’d definitely recommend giving Shadow in the Cloud a try – plus it’s only 83 minutes long and that includes the credits. Director and co-writer Rosanne Liang definitely knows how to do a lot with little in the best possible way. 4/5.

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