January 3, 2014 Dark Skies (Movie review)
In a time where the horror genre is saturated with remakes and possession themed films, there are few beacons of original ideas. Taking a more science fiction spin on terror, writer/director Scott Stewart (Legion 2010, Priest 2010) teamed up with producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity 2007, Insidious 2010) to bring audiences Dark Skies.
The plot is based around the Barrett family’s peaceful suburban life facing financial issues. The family is suddenly rocked by an escalating series of disturbing events. Things become progressively worse as these strange happenings occur, surrounding the household with turmoil left out of their control. At first, these events seem paranormal, but further studies reveal otherwise and the family learns that a terrifying force is after them. Desperate for answers, Lucy and Daniel Barrett (Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton) seek out a professional for help. With no help from the police or any of their surrounding neighbors, the family is left to fend for themselves. They reach out to Edwin Pollard (J.K. Simmons) who reveals a chilling tale of what a “real” alien invasion is. After the meeting a series of disturbing scenes unfold before our eyes leaving the viewer with eerie imagery.
Dark Skies may be a disappointment to those expecting too much, or something else all together. While not in the fashion of the Paranormal Activity series, the film leaves the audience to use their imagination, delivering just enough abnormality without revealing too much. In these moments, there is a constant sense of discomfort, on top of adding sympathy for a family trying to get by at all costs.
With Dark Skies Stewart attempts to do more with less, which is not an easy task. While primarily known as a visual effects developer he was committed to detail in not only story, but with angles and sound, employing the services of respected cinematographer David Boyd (The Walking Dead series). These types of details are strangely a lost art overlooked by today’s generation. Upon revealing the enemy, there is just enough detail for the viewer to gain an image, but still question what they saw. For the true believer of aliens, one knows there are no answers, only questions. Why not dip into a story of the unknown, without the epic CGI explosions? Instead, these unfamiliar beings have the characteristics of a sadistic serial killer, toying with their victims before committing the final crime. In a world of rehashes and “based on true events”, Dark Skies is a refreshing original film that reminded us wild imaginations still exist. CrypticRock give this movie 4 out of 5 stars.
Written by Shannon Montalbano