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Dark Skies – 6

Director – Scott Stewart

Cast – Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Kadan Rockett, J.K. Simmons, L.J. Benet, Rich Hutchman, Myndy Crist, Annie Thurman, Josh Stamberg

Release Year – 2013

Reviewed by John of the Dead

When I first saw the initial trailer for Dark Skies I was excited for the first 30 seconds of it, then disappointed as the remainder appeared to be an indicator that this would be a cheap and boring take on alien abduction/invasion horror. Because of that I waited until the film’s final week at the local dollar theater to finally give it a big screen viewing and low and behold…I actually enjoyed this film. Going into the film with low expectations may have played a role in my enjoyment, but the experience nonetheless managed to keep my attention despite being simple and a little faulty at times. I would not outrightly recommend this film for everyone, but I found it enjoyable and you might do so as well.

For 13 years Daniel and Lacy Barret have lived a peaceful suburban life and been blessed with two sons. When recent financial troubles take a toll on the family the going gets tough, but when strange and unexplained occurrences begin happening around the home they soon realize that their lives are about to get much, much worse.

I honestly feel pretty elated as a result of liking a film I expected to hate. Priest/Legion director Scott Stewart writes and directs this piece, and his writing was much better than I expected. His story took off quick and we were exposed to the paranormal events earlier than expected, and much to my surprise the story managed to keep my attention until the end credits rolled. The strange events were rightfully growing in severity as the film progressed, and I honestly found these events pretty darn creepy at times. Naturally, with most Hollywood/Hollyweird films the usual cliches are employed, with the children being the first to know what is going on with the alien invasion of the home and only one of the parents believing them. On top of that, the believing parent uses the internet during the second act to further investigate the matter – another huge cliché often seen in these flicks. None of these cliches really bothered me though, and once the investigation element was over we were given a strong final act that brought much tension and some decent action to the screen.

Stewart’s direction was about as effective as his writing, and complimented the story enough to keep myself engaged in what was going on. He started by employing great sets that allowed him to create a really creepy atmosphere for the film, which was especially effective during the nighttime sequences. The home used was comforting during the day but downright scary at night and it reminded me of Wes Craven’s ability to make any home a scary one. His execution of the horror during these nighttime scenes was also fantastic and I was not the only one in the theater who was left on edge during the paranormal occurrences. I was however a bit disappointed in the look of the aliens, who came to us only via CGI. I was hoping that we would get some live-action aliens during the close-up scenes but no, it was CGI only and the CGI was nothing special. What did surprise me though was the fact that I still managed to find myself pretty freaked out during the alien scenes, and I credit Stewart with getting the most possible scare out of the crappy aliens.

Overall, Dark Skies is a moderately creepy experience so long as you give it the chance to be. The atmosphere is great and the story provides enough action and paranormal events to keep you engaged during its slower times. I do wish the aliens were creepier but nonetheless Scott Stewart managed to still use them to fair potential and deliver an experience I expected to hate but wound up enjoying.

Rating: 6/10

…Additional Stills…

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