Shadow in the Cloud (MA) - 83 minutes
Updated: Jan 15
A bizarre tribute to the bravery of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force during the Second World War, Shadow in the Cloud is an action creature feature.
It is the 8th August 1943 and Flight Officer Maude Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz) arrives at Auckland Allied Air Base with her arm in a sling, carting a brown leather bag.
A bomber is about to take off on a mission and she clambers aboard at the last moment creating quite a hullabaloo.
Most of the seven already aboard give her short shrift and order her off the plane immediately.
Nevertheless, as she is carrying official papers, the captain reluctantly allows her to stay.
She is dispatched to strap in underneath the plane in the gun turret.
She doesn’t want to let go of the package she is holding and yet it won’t fit into the small space with her.
One of the crew promises to keep it safe for her.
Once entrenched in her cramped quarters, Garrett puts on headphones and overhears the men’s conversation, which is heavily laced with sexual references about her.
Then she spots a shadow in the navigation lights of the aircraft that looks like an animal.
Before long we find out it is – in fact – an ugly looking rat/bat like creature with sharp fangs and a long tail that moves at speed.
At the same time, the aircraft is coming under enemy fire from the Japanese.
The captain and crew don’t trust what Garrett is saying, so the captain decides to check her out with the authorities.
In time the full truth will out, but the airmen’s troubles, not to mention Garrett’s, have only just begun.
Far-fetched and ridiculous, exaggeration is the order of the day with Shadow in the Cloud.
In fact, it gets more and more preposterous the longer it goes.
This is a movie without any subtlety.
Instead, the filmmakers (co-writer and director Roseanne Liang, who crafted the piece with fellow writer Max Landis) have adopted a sledge hammer approach.
The dialogue is cliche riddled, although to its credit there remains tension throughout.
For much of the first half hour Shadow in the Cloud is all but a lone hander, with the camera squarely focused on Garrett’s actions and reactions.
Of course, she more than holds her own and the men become putty in her hands, despite their testosterone filled rants.
Chloë Grace Moretz does the best she can with the material she has been given.
The others tend to struggle in performances I will kindly call pedestrian.
In short then, Shadow in the Cloud is pure pulp.
Rated MA, it scores a 5 out of 10.