Dark Skies Review: Familiar Fun

dark_skies_aliens_the_greys_movie_reviewDark Skies is one of many horror movies of the last two years sporting the label “from the producers of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and INSIDIOUS” that it is starting to lose value.  But Dark Skies lives up to that label and may be able to add its name to it.  While the producers seemed to focus on the spiritual scares with their previous efforts this one tabs into a different realm of scares, foreign beings outer space.  If you are getting tired of all the ghost stories, vampire/werewolf tales, or zombies (like I am starting to) then a good alien movie like Dark Skies will entertain you.

A brief introduction to the plot of Dark Skies is as follows:  The Barrett’s were just your average suburban family in a struggling U.S. economy.  Parents Daniel and Lacy (Josh Hamilton and Keri Russell respectively) experience spooky break-ins on top of their youngest of two sons, Sam (Kadan Rockett), begins speaking to the mythical Sandman late at night.  The break-ins escalate to the point the home security company cannot explain it which soon becomes the least of their worries when they lose control of their minds and bodies.  Click here for the trailer.

The makers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious have gotten a fair amount of flack for their lack of originality.  Is Dark Skies any different?  Not really and that is okay.  I have said before that a movie does not have to completely be original for me to enjoy it as long as it is not the same scene to scene as a previous film.  To best explain this film would be Insidious meets Signs.  The plot and pace feels a lot like Insidious at times and has the subtle shock of Signs.  Another thing that it does not quite stray from is the alien mythos that has been already been established.  I do not want to elaborate on that too much because for those of you that have not seen it yet I would be giving you a check list of things to expect which would ruin the experience.  But all those supposed negatives did not bother me one bit.

Director/writer Scott Stewart tells a good story with Dark Skies.  The Barrett’s really felt like an everyday family that just moved up in the world in this nice new house when the Josh Hamilton’s character loses his job, Keri Russell’s character, a real-estate agent, cannot sell their old house, and their oldest son is hanging with an older yet more immature jerk.  All these everyday things suck to handle enough as it is before all hell breaks loose with youngest talking to the “sandman,” personal items rearranging or going missing, and unexplained blackouts where they are physically harmed.  Stewart’s directing credits are limited and most of his resume is visual effects and it showed with the appearance of the aliens.  It is similar to Signs in that you are given a rough outline of what they look like but they are never shown with great detail which I loved.

If there are any downfalls, it’s that Josh Hamilton as the father was a real douche.  He seemed very conceited and dismissal of anything dispute how obvious of a conclusion he should have drawn.  Then when he finally accepts the reality he acts completely illogically.  But then again if I was in his situation I probably would not think clearly either.

Final thoughts, I am a sucker for most alien movies and Dark Skies definitely strikes familiar chords but that never bothers me.  There are some good jump scares but this is more thriller than horror.  I give Dark Skies a 7/10.

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