Release Date: February 22, 2013
Cast: Keri Russell (Lacy), Josh Hamilton (Daniel), Dakota Goyo (Jesse), Kadan Rockett (Sam), J.K. Simmons (Edwin Pollard)
Here we have the standard surburban family living in an isolated community. The mom (Lacy) is a real estate agent and the dad (Daniel) is unemployed looking for work. Bills are piling up and without the two paycheck income the family is losing the house. With the everyday problems affecting the family things are about to get worse.
The youngest son (Sam) is drawing pictures of “The Sandman”. The sandman is a fictional character in a book the older brother (Jesse) read to the boy. Thinking Sam is scared of the sandman nobody takes the drawings seriously. Lacy wakes up one night to find a devious prank in the kitchen. Someone has stacked everything on top of each other. No one takes the blame of course. Things escalate to where the family gets cameras installed to capture the incidents. What they find is troubling? Aliens.
Guessing from the trailers you should easily figure out this movie is about aliens. While you are watching this movie you might wonder how exactly they fit in. Dark Skies clearly portrays the aliens as pranksters which makes you think you are watching a movie about ghosts instead. As you can see in the poster above the movie was written by the same person who wrote Paranormal Activity and Insidious. Both of those movies are about ghosts and in a way you see that mentality in Dark Skies. The entire movie plays out like a ghost haunting. The parents in the movie do investigate the situation by going to someone who has had these experiences happen to him. It really is the same setup used in every haunted house movie. Thinking about these events in the movie are making me wonder, did they just replace the ghosts with aliens and a different ending? As you can see the ending doesn’t add up to the events earlier in the movie. The pranks are worthless, why do they play these pranks on people if all they want is what happens at the end?
Without thinking about the plot to much Dark Skies is actually pretty good. Keri Russell shines as the mom. I must admit I didn’t like her in her role of Felicity as I was in middle school, or younger, at the time but her recent acting jobs have left me impressed. Apart from Russell the acting is pretty decent. Only thing that hinders the flow of the movie is the script because it never really knows what kind of movie it is (ghost or alien).
My biggest concern is not with the movie but the horror genre itself. One thing I have notice with horror movies is their consistence in using the “last scare” tactic. What do you mean “last scare”? Have you ever watched a horror movie where the ending has already happened and lets say all the people leave the room but in the next instance a ghost or something comes crawling at you and then roll the credits? I hate these “last scares”, they have often left me wondering if the resolution at the end of the movie is the true ending or if something else is going on. Dark Skies has a more limited version of the “last scare” tactic. The thing with the aliens happen but after that it has a scene of the family moving into a new house and a walkie-talkie used earlier in the movie makes a particular noise (watch the ending and you will know what I am talking about). Why did that walkie-talkie make that noise? What did it add to the story? Nothing, I don’t get it. I am starting to question horror movies. Does the horror genre know how to end a movie anymore? It’s starting to get really suspect.
To recap Dark Skies is a good movie with some giant plot holes. Knowing what you are getting yourself into with the alien plot you shouldn’t have any problems watching the movie. Going into the movie not knowing it’s about aliens might discourage people from liking it.