Monday, February 25, 2013

Dark Skies

Fresh off the grills, we have Scott Stewart's "Dark Skies". This film stars Keri Russell(Felicity,The Americans) and Josh Hamilton (Some bit parts in movies). It was released February 22nd 2013 and is going to be battling for horror movie of the year. Does it make a good splash? Well we'll see.

What is the plot?
The plot centres around the Barrett family. Their suburban lifestyle gets turned topsy turvey as they are visited by otherworldly beings who's intentions are unknown but, escalate to a disturbing and terrifying end. Or so it's suppose to be.

Suppose to be?
It's basically Paranormal Activity meets Signs. Honestly if you watched those 2 movies together, you'd get this movie.

Hmm... So what's to like here?
Well I have never really seen Keri Russell act before but I have to say she does a really good job. The acting in general for this movie was really good even the small part for J.K. Simmons was top notch. I also really liked the cinematography in this film. They did a really good job with the editing and the scene transitions. It really helped with the atmosphere, especially when it would go from being really light and calm, to when the mood would get dark and suspenseful. It was a very good blend and served its purpose well.

Like with Paranormal Activity this movie also does a good job of keeping you in suspense. I guess the formula is pretty much tried, tested and true.

The scene with the birds flying into the home in particular I thought was really done well. I can't get a clip but here's a good picture of what's going on.

So what is not to like?
The biggest problem I had with this movie is that it did not introduce anything new to the genre. This movie borrows way too many elements from Signs and Paranormal Activity and I thought for most of the movie it was Paranormal Activity 5 UNTIL THE ALIENS! Fuck that was so bad. The aliens look like "Slenderman" it's fucking stupid. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I don't think aliens would actually look like the stereotypical big head, small body type figure, but I thought it was dumb and that was the turning point to where I thought, this movie can fuck right off because all it needs now is Mel Gibson and it's Signs.

A little tough to see, but there is a resemblance.

What would you have done differently?
Pfff I don't know? Maybe come up with an original story? Something that isn't borrowed. Also I would have taken the whole alien thing out, cause that's retarded as shit. If you absolutely have to have them in there, I would make them look like the aliens from "Alien" at least then it would be more horrific and not fucking stupid, well it might still be stupid but at least it would have been more violent.

Final thoughts?
I wanted to like this movie a lot more, from the trailers I saw, it had lots of promise, even if they just copied Paranormal Activity I'd still probably like it more then the direction they took it. If you have nothing better to do then you could see this, mind you it's definitely a netflix selection or an online streamer, you don't want to pay to see this in theatres or on video.

2/5  fucked up kitchens


Alternate review by You'll Never See...

Dark Skies does a lot of things right. It's not the scariest movie I have ever seen, but it leaves me with hope for the genre as a whole and it also showed me that this oft used formula (The paranormal activity formula) can still work.

What did I like?

One thing I found this movie did really well was build tension. As I have said in previous reviews, one of the true keys to horror is Don't show the creature. By not seeing what is menacing the family, they allow our imaginations to run wild. They also use atmospheric effects (Birds crashing into the house, lights going out, fuzzy cameras) to convey what might be going on. Yes, you have seen this before, but the reason you keep seeing it is that it works.

I also liked the story in general. Alien's are more in this reviewers taste, so the idea of an invasion and of a plot by the grays wanting to abduct and study really goes a long way for me. They didn't check all their facts and left out some info, but if it was for the sake of running time then this movie does not suffer for it.

Lastly I liked the casting choice of Keri Russell. I haven't seen her do anything post Felicity, but she was good her and I enjoyed watching her on the screen.

What didn't I like?

One thing I didn't like is how quickly Keri Russell's character was willing to accept her new found reality. The way she comes to the realization of what is happening seems to be out of scope with her already established character. She then spends too much time trying to convince her skeptical husband. What finally makes him believe is a little frustrating however as if what had already gone down wasn't enough to make him believe anything. I guess what I am trying to say is based on the way this movie presented itself, the culprits here could have been ghosts just as easily as Aliens.

I also didn't like the ending. It was too abrupt. I also feel like it was trying to leave itself open for a sequel (as all these films do now) that it may not get based on initial box office.

Final Thoughts?

Nobody has definitive proof of what aliens look like. There are plenty of books and theories out there, but until something finally comes down here and reveals itself, any interpretation is fine in my book. The fact that they went with one of the most accepted versions of an alien out there is totally fine in my book.

With good acting, an appearance by J.K Simmons and a good overall sense of tension being built by an unknown off screen presence, this movie has enough in it for me to recommend. You know you're going to see this formula again and likely around this Halloween, so it's nice to see them go in a different direction with it early in the year.

Dark Skies get 3.75 Felicity box sets out of 5

Here is the trailer:

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