6.5/10 A film with a trailer that looked fairly cheesy, I had pretty low expectations for “Shadow in the Cloud” but this film surprised me and despite its flaws, ended up being a fun, little thriller with some twists and turns. First and foremost, the score from Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper is one of the best of the year (this is a 2020 release) and set the moody, alternative universe tone really well. The music felt like a B horror flick from the 80s and I mean that as a compliment because it completely worked here. The idea behind the movie is a little ridiculous but since it is presented in a serious way, it ends up working well and mostly grounding the film in reality. Chloë Grace Moretz is commanding in the leading role and is able to convey a wide range of emotions with relative ease. I loved that for a big chunk of the film early on, she is stuck in the aircraft turret and the camera rarely leaves her entrapped space, adding claustrophobia to the moody atmosphere. Even when men above her on the aircraft are talking, we hear them through her headset instead of cutting to them. This enclosed area becomes as much our home as it is now hers and I was curious as to how long director Roseanne Liang would push the scene. She pushed it as far as she could without overstaying her welcome and I enjoyed that immensely. The film has some gremlins in it and when we see close-ups of them, the CGI overall is very well done and they look realistic and terrifying. The film clocks in around an hour and a half so the pacing is perfect as the film never slows down to bore us. Something exciting is happening or pertinent information is being revealed at all times. The plot takes some different directions I didn’t expect and although the ending was a little predictable, I overall enjoyed the twists and turns the story took. As for the flaws that brought the film down somewhat, they mostly pertain to when the realism that was established was completely shattered in absurd ways. Most of what I am about to say is in the film’s trailer so they are not major spoilers, which I don’t post in my film reviews. At one point our lead Maude (Moretz) is upside down on the aircraft crawling like Spider-Man across it. This is ridiculous for several reasons. First off, how fast they are going, the wind alone would most likely blow her off. Second, she has a broken finger so to grab on as tight as she did was rather unbelievable. Finally, a woman of her size and strength, while by no means weak, would not have the overall body strength to sustain herself for as long as she does in the condition she is in, with the added weight of a package she is carrying on top of her own body weight. The most eye rolling moment involves her falling and the explosion of a plane below her sending her right back up, perfectly where she needs to go. I laughed out loud at the absolute stupidity of the moment and with the rest of the film trying to stay believable, this felt extremely out of place. A few moments like that really took me out of the experience paired with the male supporting cast all being completely under developed and disposable ended up hurting the film. In the end, you could do a lot worse and with its lean running time, this is a decent rental if you expect there to be some cheesy moments along the way. There are enough elements like the phenomenal score and a strong leading performance to make this destination worth climbing aboard for.

#MaudesNotDead / #CarrieOnLuggage / #DarkShadowsInTheCloud / #CrashLandis / #LoveVector / #KnockedUpAndDown

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