In the Shadow of the Moon (2019 film)

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In the Shadow of the Moon
In the Shadow of the Moon poster.jpg
Official poster
Directed byJim Mickle
Produced by
  • Brian Kavanaugh-Jones
  • Ben Pugh
  • Rian Cahill
  • Linda Moran
  • Jim Mickle
Written by
  • Gregory Weidman
  • Geoff Tock
Music byJeff Grace
CinematographyDavid Lanzenberg
Edited byMichael Berenbaum
  • 42
  • Automatik
  • Nightshade
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • September 21, 2019 (2019-09-21) (Fantastic Fest)
  • September 27, 2019 (2019-09-27) (United States)
Running time
115 minutes
CountryUnited States

In the Shadow of the Moon is a 2019 American science fiction thriller film directed by Jim Mickle and written by Gregory Weidman and Geoff Tock. It stars Boyd Holbrook, Cleopatra Coleman, and Michael C. Hall. The film had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 21, 2019. It was later released on September 27, 2019, by Netflix.


In 1988, several people simultaneously hemorrhage to death in Philadelphia, disintegrating their brains and causing massive blood loss. Police officer Thomas Lockhart believes the case to be his ticket to becoming a detective, though his partner, Maddox, is less enthusiastic. Lockhart's brother-in-law, Detective Holt (Hall), initially dismisses Lockhart's observations but eventually admits the deaths are connected when Lockhart finds similar wounds on each victim. Lockhart and Maddox find an assault victim with similar wounds and she describes her assailant as a twenty-something African American woman with a wounded hand before dying. After Holt organizes a citywide manhunt, Lockhart and Maddox find the suspect and chase her into a subway, where she subdues Maddox. When Lockhart confronts her, the suspect reveals details about his life, including that his wife will give birth that day. She predicts her own death just prior to a struggle, which ends with a train hitting her. Although confused about the many unexplained details, the police close the case. Meanwhile, Lockhart's wife dies in childbirth.

Nine years later, amid protests against police brutality on the anniversary of the suspect's death, an apparent copycat begins another killing spree. Lockhart, now a detective, can find no apparent motive or connection between the victims. He urges the department to keep the reopened investigation quiet to minimize racial tensions. Riots break out when Holt publicizes surveillance footage of the copycat and promises a full investigation. Lockhart traces keys retrieved in 1988 to an aircraft manufactured in 1996. Naveen Rao, a physicist, insists this is proof of time travel, but Maddox and Lockhart ignore him. After tracking the copycat to an airfield, Lockhart is shocked to find the same suspect from 1988, who is alive and has not aged. She unintentionally kills Maddox and takes Lockhart hostage, again revealing knowledge about his life she could not know. After warning him off, she disappears.

In 2006, Lockhart is a private investigator obsessed with solving the case, which he now believes involves time travel and Dr Rao, who has disappeared. His teenage daughter lives with Holt, and Lockhart maintains only occasional contact with her. Lockhart discovers a previously unrecorded victim from the 1988 murders and visits the victim's wife, who reveals her husband ran a white nationalist militia group. Lockhart meets Holt and advances the theory that the suspect is moving back in time as they are moving forward, meaning she genuinely died in 1988. Holt dismisses the theory and insists Lockhart gets psychiatric help. Lockhart steals Holt's badge, uses it to impersonate a police officer, and tracks down the former girlfriend of the white nationalist leader, arriving at her home to find she has been murdered by the suspect. Lockhart chases her and he wounds her hand with a bullet before she disappears in a time machine. Lockhart is arrested by Holt as an unseen Rao watches on.

Rao resurfaces in 2015, determined to stop Lockhart from interrupting the woman's next killing spree. In addition, Rao admits to developing the technology the woman uses to kill her victims and says he now believes her cause is justified. He says that she is killing to stop something far worse and that to prevent such a major tragedy, it is necessary to kill enough people in the past who may spark the actions of those responsible. Lockhart escapes from Rao and confronts the woman, who reveals herself as Rya, his estranged daughter's child from an interracial marriage.

In 2024, Lockhart convinced Rya to take the mission after the militia group's terrorism triggered a new civil war. Rya is traveling backwards in time, appearing every nine years in reverse chronological order. From her perspective, the events in 1988 have yet to occur, and her hand is not yet wounded. Overcome with guilt over causing his own granddaughter's death, Lockhart reveals to her the events that unfold in 1988. Convinced that her cause is just, he lets her complete the killings. Lockhart reunites with his family, and the civil war is averted.



The project was announced in February 2018, with Jim Mickle directing and Boyd Holbrook set to star in the lead role. The film would be produced and distributed by Netflix.[1] In June 2018, Michael C. Hall joined the cast of the film.[2] In July 2018, Cleopatra Coleman and Bokeem Woodbine joined the cast.[3]

Speaking about the project, director Mickle declared:

“Gregory [Weidman] and Geoff’s [Tock] script is such a great mind bender and beautifully weaves together all my favorite genres, Boyd [Holbrook] is going to eat this role alive and show why he’s one of the best young actors working today. We’re lucky to have an incredibly talented producing team and a home like Netflix that’s excited to take chances. Any studio that makes Okja has a permanent place in my heart.”[4]

Principal production commenced on July 2, 2018 and ended on August 27, 2018 in Ontario, Canada.[5]


The film had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 21, 2019.[6] On September 27, 2019, the film was available to stream on Netflix.[7]


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 61% based on 46 reviews, with a weighted average of 5.83/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "In the Shadow of the Moon isn't always successful at balancing its assorted elements, but its struggles may be diverting enough to warrant a stream."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 9 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[9]


  1. ^ Kroll, Justin (February 20, 2018). "'Narcos' Star Boyd Holbrook to Reteam With Netflix on Thriller Movie (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  2. ^ Sneider, Jeff (June 15, 2018). "Exclusive: Michael C. Hall Joins Boyd Holbrook in Netflix Thriller 'In the Shadow of the Moon'". Collider. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  3. ^ Michael C. Hall, Cleopatra Coleman, Bokeem Woodbine Join ‘In The Shadow Of The Moon’
  4. ^ Boyd Holbrook’s Netflix Movie ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’ Adds Cleopatra Coleman
  5. ^ OMDC MEDIA LIST – June 8, 2018
  6. ^ Couch, Aaron (July 30, 2019). "Taika Waititi's 'Jojo Rabbit' to Premiere at Fantastic Fest". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  7. ^ Truitt, Brian (August 15, 2019). "Check out exclusive new photos from fall's most must-see movies". USA Today. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  8. ^ "In the Shadow of the Moon (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  9. ^ "In the Shadow of the Moon". Metacritic. Retrieved September 30, 2019.

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