Review: Moretz flies high in the sky with crazy 'Shadow in the Cloud'

Chloë Grace Moretz stars in B-movie that will satisfy genre fans; others need not apply

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic

A pulpy B-movie that embraces its pulpy excess like scars earned on the battlefield, "Shadow in the Cloud" is built to be watched by midnight audiences who howl at the screen along with it, not at it.  

Chloë Grace Moretz stars in and carries writer-director Roseanne Liang's gloriously over-the-top creature feature war picture. It's the kind of movie where an explosion in the sky is enough to rocket a character to safety, and where logic doesn't matter as much as the thrill of the journey itself.  

Chloë Grace Moretz in "Shadow in the Cloud."

Moretz is Flight Officer Maude Garrett, a pilot assigned to a B-17 Flying Fortress in New Zealand in 1943. The plane is full — seven officers, all male, are already on board — and Maude is forced to sit in the turret below, where via headset she hears the men above objectify her in every way imaginable.

The majority of "Shadow in the Cloud" takes place inside this cramped compartment, with the story unfolding over the airwaves like a radio play and Moretz registering everything that's happening around her in her facial expressions. It's a great, game performance.

And Liang keeps folding in new elements: Maude is traveling with a mysterious package no one on board is allowed to open, and there's the small matter of the gremlin crawling around on the plane's wing, tearing up its electrical wiring and causing all sorts of hell in the sky.

There's just enough here for 80 minutes of action, and Liang keeps the thrills coming and the twists turning at a brisk pace. The incongruities are part of the fun — why does a WWII movie have a gurgling proto-goth synth soundtrack? — and the special effects make "Shadow in the Cloud" look like something out of a lost '70s movie. Again, that's the point, and the audience for which "Shadow in the Cloud" is intended is already tuned to its frequency. Enjoy the ride.


'Shadow in the Cloud'


Rated R: for language throughout, sexual references and violence

Running time: 83 minutes