What do you get when you take the director of Legion and Priest, and writer of Legion, and get the producers of Paranormal Activity to make a creepy sci-fi/horror film? You get a movie filled with elements of other movies with a few creepy scenes in it, and call it Dark Skies.
If you’re going to use a great, thought-provking quote by Arthur C. Clarke with which to open your film, please make the film worthy of that quote. What do you get when you take the director of Legion and Priest, and writer of Legion, and get the producers of Paranormal Activity to make a creepy sci-fi/horror film? You get a movie filled with elements of other movies with a few creepy scenes in it, and call it Dark Skies. Arthur C. Clarke is turning over in his…escape pod. Kind of wish I’d had one while watching this.
Dark Skies finds the Barrett family under varying types of stress. Then odd and disturbing events begin happeing to them. They come to discover that a terrifying and deadly force is after them. I think it may have been the director.
Let’s talk about the good things, that will take less time. There are some genuinely creepy moments in Dark Skies. I find films that have home intruders standing in a room watching the residents without them knowing is pretty disconcerting. That’s much the reason I liked the movie The Strangers. This has some of that same appeal. And the effects work on the “intruders” is spooky, too. They don’t give too much away, or too much detail. They keep the hair on your neck standing up.
Also, Kerri Russell as Lacy Barrett, the mother, really gives 100 % here. Her performance is worthy of a much better film. And the always worthwhile J.K. Simmons plays Edwin Pollard, the known internet alien abduction kook. Despite the fact that he plays his character like he’s taken a little too much Xanax, he indeed elevates the film in the little time he’s on screen. Seriously, it’s most mellow I’ve ever seen Simmons on film.
Beyond any of that, Dark Skies uses far too many elements seen in other films, asa well as stuff most people have heard about aliens visiting people in their homes. The objects piled to the ceiling in the kitchen, the random nosebleeds, computer chips under the skin, the young kids drawing pictures of themselves with tall grey stick figures. Seen it. Been done. Have a nap, wake me when it’s over.
They talk about “The Greys”, the type of aliens that come to their house. Didn’t Whitley Strieber already talk about them in his book – and subsequent film – Communion? Yes, yes he did. And frankly, the book is great and super creepy. You should read it. As a film, Communion also leaves much to be desired, so, just read the book. It will definitely make aliens creepy for you.
Written and directed by Scott Stewart, I repeat, the guy also responsible for Priest and Legion, the rest of Dark Skies is just kinda boring. He’s a Visual Effects guy that got into directing, and that doesn’t always work out. Or hey, maybe he’ll keep learning and get better. I just don’t know how many more films like this he’s going to make before he gets it right.
Two kittenhands. Now just go read the book Communion. It’s what this movie was trying to do by using much of the same material, but actually succeeds.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, fully aware that i just recommend you stay out of the theater and read a book.