Let me start off my review by making it clear that I did enjoy this movie. While reading along, you might start to think “Damn. This guy really has a problem with this movie,” but that simply isn’t true. In fact, I thought Shadow in the Cloud was a perfectly enjoyable and exciting action flick, and were it not for a glaring tonal shift, more on that soon, I might have even given it a spot on my Top 10 list. And, since it’s impossible to explain why exactly this movie fell flat for me without treading into spoiler territory, a massive SPOILER ALERT is in effect. So, now that is taken care of, let’s talk about the shit-show that is Shadow in the Cloud.
Shadow in the Cloud is a WWII fantasy-adventure starring Chloe Grace Moretz (Suspiria, Kick-Ass) and directed by Roseanne Liang. It follows pilot Maude Garrett (played by Moretz), who boards the plane of a roughneck group of soldiers with the mission of delivering a top-secret package safely to the ground. However, an evil presence threatens to crash the plane.
With a premise so simple, it was hard to believe that Shadow in the Cloud could be anything other than pure adrenalized fun. However, at around the halfway point, all sense of logic went right out the 20,000 foot high window for the sake of…well, to be quite honest, I’m not sure what it was for the sake of, because the first 40 minutes of Shadow in the Cloud were genuinely pretty solid. And I realize “logic” is a brazen word to use while talking about a movie that features a supernatural gremlin, but even the gremlin makes sense in the context of the film because it adheres to the rules of the story that have already been established. Once we discover that Maude’s top-secret parcel contains her newborn baby, Shadow in the Cloud ditches its well-crafted setup, and traverses into “what the fuck is going on?” territory.
My only question is why? Why does this movie have a baby? My guess is that they added this to give Maude a personal stake in the story, but this isn’t necessary because she already has a personal stake in the story. Her stake, as well as every other character’s, is survival. From that point on, the movie just beats us over the heads with its ridiculousness. It was impossible not to laugh out loud when I saw Chloe Grace Moretz dangling a baby in a bag off the side of a plane.
At the end of the day, Shadow in the Cloud is a film that had a lot of potential. Everything from the techno score to the over-the-top action sequences made for a perfectly fun ride, but ultimately suffers from a plot that tries to be more complicated than it needed to be. I will say though, that watching Chloe Grace Moretz fist fight a gremlin was nothing short of badass!