Shadow in the Cloud
Shadow in the Cloud is a 2020 action horror film directed by Roseanne Liang, from a screenplay by Liang and Max Landis. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Taylor John Smith, Nick Robinson, Beulah Koale and Callan Mulvey, the film follows a female WWII pilot travelling with top-secret documents on a B-17 Flying Fortress while encountering an evil presence on board.
|Shadow in the Cloud|
|Directed by||Roseanne Liang|
|Music by||Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper|
|Edited by||Tom Eagles|
Shadow in the Cloud had its world premiere on September 12, 2020 at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the People's Choice Award for Midnight Madness. It was released on January 1, 2021, by Vertical Entertainment and Redbox Entertainment.
In August 1943, Maude Garrett, a female flight officer, is assigned to travel with top secret documents from Auckland, New Zealand, to Samoa. However, as soon as she arrives at the air base, she witnesses a ground crew ramper inexplicably disappearing before her eyes – just before suddenly finding herself standing right in front of her transport, a B-17 bomber christened the Fool's Errand. The bomber's crew gives her a mostly derisive welcome, and she is quartered in the Sperry for the takeoff. With no room left for her document bag, she reluctantly allows the only crew member friendly to her, Walter Quaid, to store it.
While stuck in the turret, Maude suddenly sees some sort of creature clinging to the underside of the bomber's wing; she reports it, but most of the crew – except Beckell, who sights it too – dismisses it. When she is allowed to exit the turret, the hatch malfunctions, trapping her inside. When she reacts indignantly to the crew's comments about her situation, they abandon their attempts to open the hatch and the comm is cut off. After seeing a Japanese scouting plane appearing and disappearing close to the bomber, she is abruptly attacked by the creature, a gremlin; she fights it off, but ends up injured. When the crew contacts her again to ask about what happened, a radio message comes in telling them that a Maude Garrett doesn't exist and is not registered for the flight. When they intend to take her out for questioning, Maude deliberately jams the turret's gears and prepares to defend herself when the Japanese plane reappears and attacks. Taking control of the turret, she shoots it down, winning the crew's grudging respect.
While continuing to converse with the crew, Maude admits that she is actually married and boarded the bomber under her maiden name, but refuses to tell about her mission, citing its confidentiality. Then she sees the gremlin as it continues to sabotage the plane, and eventually Dorn sights it too, but the others disregard him. Suspecting Maude's assignment to be the cause for their misfortunes, Reeves gives the order to open the bag, which actually contains a baby – Maude and Quaid's extramarital child. Forced to confess, Maude explains that she was severely mistreated by her husband; she entered an affair with Quaid and unwillingly got pregnant from it. Someone betrayed her to her husband, who came to the base. Deciding not to tell Quaid, Maude faked her assignment to get away from her husband before he would kill her in his rage.
Just as Captain Reeves turns back to the air base, three Japanese fighters come in, and the gremlin boards the bomber, injures Quaid, and kidnaps the baby. When the gremlin appears before her with the baby in the bag, Maude exits the turret and fires her handgun at it, driving it off, but leaving the bag hanging precariously from the ventral hull. Risking a perilous climb, Maude retrieves her child and re-boards the plane through the opening for the now blown-off Sperry. The gremlin attacks again, throwing Taggart out of the plane before Maude can evict it. When Reeves, Finch, and Dorn are killed by Japanese gunfire, Maude takes command and brings the plane roughly but safely down to the ground. The gremlin reappears and tries to snatch the baby once more, but Maude catches up and finally kills it, and she and the other survivors watch as the Fool's Errand explodes and burns up.
Just prior to the credits rolling, archival footage is shown of women serving in the British and American World War II air forces.
- Chloë Grace Moretz as Flying Officer Maude Garrett/Johnson
- Taylor John Smith as Staff Sergeant Walter Quaid, top turret gunner
- Beulah Koale as RNZAF Flight Lieutenant Anton Williams, the bomber's co-pilot
- Nick Robinson as Private Stu Beckell, tail gunner
- Callan Mulvey as Captain John Reeves, the bomber's pilot
- Benedict Wall as Private Tommy Dorn
- Joe Witkowski as Lieutenant Bradley Finch, navigator
- Byron Coll as Technical Sergeant Terrence Taggart, radio operator
In January 2019, it was announced Chloë Grace Moretz had joined the cast of the film, with Roseanne Liang directing from a screenplay by Max Landis. Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Fred Berger, Kelly McCormick and Tom Hern would serve as producers under their Automatik Entertainment and Four Knights Film banner, respectively. In April 2019, Moretz announced the script had been re-written several times following Landis's sexual assault allegations. Landis was also removed as a producer on the film, with Liang re-writing the film. Due to Writers Guild of America rules, Landis receives credit for the script. That same month, Nick Robinson joined the cast of the film.
The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2020. Shortly after, Vertical Entertainment and Redbox Entertainment acquired distribution rights to the film. It was released in the United States on January 1, 2021, although the release was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 78% of 112 critics gave the film a positive review, and the average rating is 6.3/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Part creature feature, part war movie, and part social commentary, Shadow in the Cloud doesn't always blend its ingredients evenly—but it's frequently pulpy fun." According to Metacritic, which assigned the film a weighted average score of 66 out of 100 based on 19 critics, it received "generally favorable reviews".
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