Written for RAF News Jan 2022
Despite the PSA at the start of the film insisting that ‘gremlins’ are just an excuse made for pilot’s own human error, Officer Maud Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz) has herself a window seat on a B-17 Bomber where something doesn’t seem right.
Set in 1943, Garrett jumps aboard The Fool’s Errand on the runway, insisting to the incredulous crew that she is not only a member of the RAF but intended for this vessel with shoebox-sized cargo that is fragile and completely confidential. With many clearly not having seen a ‘dame’ in some time, she is mocked, harassed and given the only available seat in the form of a turret below deck.
We spend the first half of the film crammed into this tight space with Maud listening to the rowdy lads above through the comms. By honing the focus on Maud and what she sees from this vantage point, the film makes a decision that is creatively minimal. The idea of ‘something on the wing of the plane’ has been seen before in The Twilight Zone, but here it is placed in the context of a small paranoid unit, willing to right off the warnings of gremlins as female hysteria. And yet much like The Twilight Zone, the film manages to pack in a load of twists and turns along the way as Maud’s secrets begin to come out.
Once the film reaches the midpoint, what seemed like a budgetary decision in the beginning is revealed as an artistic choice as impressive effects come into play. It may lose some of its horror film tension, but it is happy to change shape and shift genre, becoming more of a mindless monster movie with a feminist streak. Embracing its silliness the fun is hard to deny as things go full tilt and the laws of physics go out the window.