Written & Directed by Scott Stewart
Starring: Keri Russell, Jake Brennan, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Kadan Rockett, and J.K. Simmons
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.
Don’t be so quick to believe everything you read on the internet, including what you hear from me. Ironic caveat notwithstanding, Dark Skies is a great excuse to go to a Saturday morning matinée. I doubt it’s going to cause any hardcore horror or sci-fi fans to pre-order the Blu Ray from Amazon – let’s just get that out there – but this is a fun little film. Neither the story, the twists or default imagery is groundbreaking by any stretch, but thanks to a committed cast and director, Dark Skies is all about the long con.
Every family-centric horror film needs a good excuse to have some inherent trauma to set the stage. The Barrett family has the default out of work dad, a very young child, and a throwaway medical situation that’s overlooked until the end. With these three elements, the director casts the net into a hopeful audience. The long burn works for this particular movie, creating a palpable sense of hope for the family. The Barretts are subjected to a series of eerie events that begin to happen in and around their home before the unseen force begins openly targeting the family one at a time. Call it slow, but it did work for me. The terror unfolds so slowly that you’ve already become attached to the protagonists by the time things really start to go downhill. Keri Russell and Jake Brennan portray the familial stress with due diligence, creating some genuine moments for the low-key scares to piggyback upon. In the end, Dark Skies almost seems reluctant to shares its secrets until its hand is forced. It’s an understated film that relies on brains instead of cheap scares and definitely worth the buck at Redbox in a couple of months. Your experience may vary – art is subjective and shit.