Dark Skies is a sci-fi horror film, but not much else. What writer/director Scott Stewart gives us is a weak mix of terror, lightly coated with themes about family and unity. Sure, it may seem fun to watch Keri Russell run away from strange beings, but it gets old after awhile.

The Players

  • Director: Scott Stewart
  • Writer: Scott Stewart
  • Cast: Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Kadan Rockett, J.K. Simmons
  • Cinematography: David Boyd
  • Original Music by: Joseph Bishara

The Plot:

A middle-class family struggles to keep their lives intact when unknown beings start terrorizing their home. When extraterrestrials move in on the family, they desperately search for help before it destroys them forever.

The Good:

  • All the Actors: This is one of those films where you know all of the actors are trying their best despite the strange material their given. They honestly try so they can’t be blamed for how the movie is as a whole. The actors make the film a little more engaging to viewers.
  • The Score: While the script continually messes with the audience’s head, the score was creepy enough to keep our attention. It gave off an eerie, uncomfortable vibe that has you glued to your seat as you anxiously await what’s behind the corner.

The So-So:

  • Stewart’s Directing: He knows how to get his vision properly put on camera, but it’s not the best. It’s easy to blame it on the cameraman or lighting guy, because there are a few shots facing a window where the glare is so bad every person looks like a ghost. Still, Stewart successfully thrills us in a few instances when given the chance.

The Bad:

  • The Side Stories: One would expect the writers to put more effort into their B and C stories. What we get are lazy sub plots that don’t go anywhere or even pose a problem to the characters. At one point, the couple are faced with the possibility of losing their house, but they’re not stressed over it. It’s dropped halfway through the film. Even the family theme they try to carryout feels incomplete. Everybody seems focused on the sci-fi aspect, which doesn’t work. They let the biggest theme in the movie fall by the wayside.
  • Do This! Just Kidding: There are a number of cases where they set up certain guidelines only to make them irrelevant in the next scene. If you’re establishing a sci-fi alternate reality, you have to stick by a set of rules. Otherwise, it called not paying attention to what you wrote five pages ago.
  • The Climax: When there’s a threat that one or all the family members will be taken, the movie does pick up. Sadly it falls right back into “what am I watching” territory when they introduce the power of mind control. It grows to such a ridiculous degree that one would think the aliens were demonic ghosts. I thought this was supposed to be sci-fi. It felt more like a horror fantasy.
  • Twist Time: Without spoiling anything, the movie ends with a big twist that suggest we’ll be seeing Dark Skies 2 in the future. First, they ignore any and all “logical” explanations for what’s going on, and after they throw them out, they expect us to be on board with a twist that makes no sense whatsoever.

Overall:

Dark Skies would have been better as a short film. Perhaps we were a couple drafts away from a spectacular movie, but this wasn’t it.

The Rating:  3/10

Dark Skies is in theaters everywhere.

Photo Gallery:

Trailer:

Will you be seeing Dark Skies this weekend?