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Shadow in the Cloud (AFI Fest 2020); Get J.J. Abrams on the Phone Right Now. Grade: B

Strictly Films welcomes to you to coverage of this years AFI Film Festival! Our next film on the block: Shadow in the Cloud

Shadow in the Cloud takes place around 1944 in New Zealand, where a World War Two pilot Maude (Chloe Grace Moretz) takes on board, with top secret documents in a suit case. Maude gets sent down in a small space below, most preferably known as the area in which you can fire bullets to take down other air crafts. Maude will be taking on many challenges in her journey. Including fighter jets, a mysterious bat like entity, and a crew in which makes degrading remarks to women or has doubts on Maude’s high end recognition, due to the fact she’s a woman.

Visually Shadow in the Cloud resembles the likes of a J.J. Abrams produced film, most recently Overlord. Everything about this film from cinematography, to visual effects just scream “J.J. ABRAMS” on the screen, as you’re honestly surprised J.J. Abrams didn’t have anything to do with this project... Yet. Visually looks pretty standard towards the likes of an Abrams project, the creature design was honestly fine for what it is, wasn’t wowed by any means. Followed a very heavy techno score, that often times sounded very groovy, as it honestly keeps up the tense and fun momentum this film is going for.

Performances were solid for the most part, mainly lead by Chloe Grace Moretz whom is the lone star of this film, as this film is mainly centered around her while the crew is basically in the background. I liked Chloe Grace Moretz in general as an actress, as I did thought she did a solid job in this performance as Maude, if you were a fan of her in her Kick Ass days... This is honestly going to bring those vibes back, as she does deliver some kick ass scenes herself. Maude as a character was fairly written, all odds were against her because she was a woman and at the time period this film is set in, mostly girls were the less superior gender when it came to war. She’s a likable protagonist, as when the reveal happens in Act Two, were atomically rooting her on through this epic course in which the aircraft goes through.

Shadow in the Cloud would compliment Overlord as a double feature at home or at a drive-in, due to the fact both take place in World War Two, while also dealing with supernatural elements. I prefer Overlord, however Shadow in the Cloud not only surprised me because I didn’t think I was getting something like this, but it did impressed me by just how fun it is. Story wise it’s pretty much by the books standard, however it does not shy away from being ridiculously fun. Especially this one sequence where Maude is about to die, as all of a sudden an explosion lifts herself up to the aircraft... It was so insane, yet brings your heart rate up by how awesome it is.

It’s worth noting the action sequences are well done, most noticeable in the third act of course. For a story that looked like it was going to be shot in just this tiny location, it manages to shift towards more locations, bringing in a fun adventure that brings you out of your seat. One major flaw everyone will be talking about is the fact the film never shifts, to the main craft where all the guys are at, especially where all the drama is at as well. I would’ve liked to see how the characters are handling the tragedies partaken on board, fairly understood what the film maker was trying to do, however things upstairs sounded way more intense and interesting than being alone with Maude.

I honestly do hope J.J. Abrams helps distribute this film, as I believe this would be a fun time at the theaters, that does deserve an IMAX showing even.

Overall, Shadow in the Cloud is solid film. I recommend checking this one out, especially if you liked Overlord or past produced J.J. Abrams films, this was honestly fun. -Mitch Smietana

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