Dark Skies

10 Mar


Synopsis: “As the Barret family’s peaceful suburban life is rocked by an escalating series of disturbing events, they come to learn that a terrifying and deadly force is after them.” (Rated PG-13; 1 hour 37 minutes)

My fiancée confuses me. Adi loves even the dumbest of horror movies. Murderer going after dumb teenagers? She loves it. Demons and possessions? Those are her favorite type. Creepy children? Nothing scares her more for some reason (except possibly for spiders, she does seem to have a real-life arachnophobia that rears its girly head every week or two). But aliens? For some reason, that suddenly makes it a “sci-fi” movie, and she walks out of something like Dark Skies exclaiming, “that was kind of dumb”. Why? Because the scary premise is about aliens.

I then present her with the most logical scenario I can come up with: “Let’s pretend everything in this movie had been the same: the same family, the same actors, the same director, the same scary moments and scenes and imagery, but instead of it being caused by aliens it was all due to demons…” She laughed and responded that she’d probably love it.

So we’ve established one thing: she may not be the most logical person in the world to take over my movie blog when I need a replacement. (I was tempted to make a crack about how her lack of logic in this regard simply proves that she’s a woman, but would rather not alienate every single female reader I currently am lucky to have!)

So how was Dark Skies as a (sci-fi) horror flick? Quite good actually, and I’ll attempt to explain why: the characters. Watching a movie like this you expect the characters to be completely uncomplicated clichés, the kids are either brats or super good, the parents are either skeptical or believers, and whatever passes for character development lacks in any depth whatsoever. That wasn’t the case here at all.

I really cared about the Barret family throughout Dark Skies. The first glimpse of the older child made me assume he would play the typical rebellious tweener; but I was happily proven wrong and watched him throughout the movie maintain a relationship with his younger brother that was surprisingly touching, while he was going through his own coming-of-age awkwardness. He was played by Dakota Goyo, who most notably starred in the really fun and underrated Real Steel, as Hugh Jackman’s son. The parents had a complex and interesting marriage that I rooted for, as the father was looking for work and struggling financially, while the mother (played by Keri Russell) tried to be supportive. Unlike most horror movies where I could hardly care less about what happens to the people, and it is all about the scares, I actually wanted this family to make it through in one piece.

I credit not only the acting but of course the writing and direction, which were both done by Scott Stewart. Who is Scott Stewart you  probably wonder? It turns out he is the same director who made the dreadful apocalyptic sci-fi trash Legion, followed by another movie that looked similar (but I admittedly didn’t see) called Priest. Both starred Paul Bettany, and both bombed. It really shocks me that he went from those to making something as surprisingly nuanced as this one, and I certainly hope he continues in this direction.

The scares in this movie weren’t really “jumping out at you” horror movie moments, but more-so an escalating series of disturbing events, and a very eerie tone that certainly managed to disturb me. The plot developed in a somewhat predictable way, and the movie still had plenty of actual clichés (seeking the “expert” to help explain their horrible situation, little brother disturbingly knowing what’s going on before anyone else does). But overall I was impressed; even the side characters were well portrayed as real people actually supporting the movie, and not just there to fill time.

I do hope that writing about how much I liked the Barret family in this movie wasn’t at the expense of making fun of my own. Sorry Adi, but this movie was still quite good, even though the demons happened to be played by aliens this time around.

The movie is better than Paranormal Activity, a movie with a clever gimmick that never really evolved beyond that. I bring it up not only because it is from the same producer, but because a major part of the movie involves setting up cameras and watching what goes bump in the night – as with Paranormal Activity. The movie is not as good as Signs, an overrated but still interesting M. Night Shyamalan movie about a family dealing with scary aliens.

Quality Rating: B+ 

Boaz Rating: A-


4 Responses to “Dark Skies”

  1. garymartingamble April 10, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    Gonna give this a shot!


    • boazconstrictor April 10, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

      I’m honored to have a talented blogger read my work! 🙂


      • garymartingamble April 10, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

        Ahh dude thanks a million !! I’m quite new to all this blogging so your kind words are much appreciated and just like yourself I’m a movie fanatic. I’m really enjoying your work also dude. At least your grammar is 100% lol


  2. boazconstrictor April 10, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

    Ha, yes I learned early on that I need to write them and wait and then PROOFREAD later to prevent that, so my grammar SHOULD be good by the time I post it 🙂


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