‘Shadow in the Cloud’ is creative and enjoyable

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Remember that old “Twilight Zone” episode with the gremlin on the wing of the airplane? Or the old Bugs Bunny cartoon where he’s heckled by a gremlin in an old World War 2 bomber? Somebody has turned that idea into a pretty fun monster movie to kick off the new year.

“Shadow in the Cloud” is available on video-on-demand as a quick, creative and all-together enjoyable film that relishes its B movie status. Normally, movies that are released quietly in January aren’t very good, but the rules of Hollywood have forever been changed by the pandemic, and something like “Shadow in the Cloud” can be legitimately fun.

Let us hope this is a sign of good things to come for new movies in the new year.

Chloë Grace Moretz plays Maude Garrett, a WW2 pilot tasked with a secret mission to safeguard an important package on an oceanic flight. She climbs onto a B-17 Flying Fortress in the middle of the night with mission papers in hand, but the all-male crew is none too happy that a mysterious “dame” has boarded their flight at the last minute. And then the gremlins attack.

Overall, “Shadow in the Cloud” is a sharp, fun little movie with plenty of action and some really creative story choices. The film clocks in at only one hour and 15 minutes, and it packs that short runtime with some solid drama and a lot of exciting action. The gremlin itself is a pretty neat looking movie monster, though part of me wishes it had been more of a mysterious presence, instead of something our hero actually fistfights.

“Shadow in the Cloud” makes one very interesting choice early into the film. When Maude boards the plane before take-off, there’s only room for her in the gunner seat that hangs off the belly of the plane. The movie then spends the next 50 minutes or so locked down there with her, more than half its runtime.

The audience only ever sees or hears what Maude does in that gunner seat, which goes a long way to building atmosphere. She’s sealed off from the rest of the plane, with tiny windows all around her, and can only hear the other men on the flight through the radio system. It’s a little claustrophobic, but it makes the danger so much more intense when she starts seeing monsters and enemy aircraft out her little windows.

When she does get out of the gunner seat into the rest of the plane, then “Shadow of the Cloud” transforms into a crazy action movie. It’s such a weird shift in tone that I couldn’t help but laugh at the filmmakers’ gumption.

“Shadow in the Cloud” kicks off 2021 with a short but very enjoyable monster movie. Not many people are going to see it or even hear about it, but those involved made a really fun little movie.

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