DARK SKIES (BLU RAY)
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
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.
Is it good movie?
I know I'm not alone in saying this, but I really wanted to like Dark
Skies. I don't think it's quite the horrible abomination some critics
make it out to be, but it absolutely collapses under its own weight
shortly after the halfway mark. Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton star as
the Barret family, a couple with two children- tween Jesse (Dakota Goyo
from Real Steel) and young Sam (Kadan Rockett). They're trying to keep
it together after Dan (Hamilton) loses his job and Lacy tries to hold
it together as a struggling real estate agent. Performances here are a
bit wooden, but the real issue here is the script that makes everyone
sound and act foolishly.
Jesse's starting to hang out with a kid who can only be described as an
awful influence- a mean spirited dope who is experimenting with weed,
early sexual activity and the occasional break-and-enter (into one of
Jesse's Mom's sale properties). Meanwhile young Sam is a troubled
creepy kid who is essentially being raised by his older brother and has
a penchant for walkie-talkie "are Mom and Dad going to leave us"
conversations with his brother once the lights go out and his parents
start having arguments. I'm about to give away the main "thing" about
Dark Skies, but don't go pointing fingers here, the whole plot is given
away by a quote at the beginning of the film.
So with the basic foundation laid, Dark Skies tries to be creepy by
throwing- well, pretty much any horror cliché you can think of at the
viewer. Mom wakes up to find food all over the floor, to find furniture
rearranged, house alarms start going off, wildlife phenomena target the
house..all kinds of things like that. Sam is our initial victim who is
blamed for all of this, and of course he has marks on his flesh and
draws really, really obvious pictures of aliens that people remain
After this, the movie shifts into Paranormal Activity mode, once the
family contacts alien (sorry, this movie calls them "Greys") expert JK
Simmons to help them with their plight. Of course, the Barrets become
even worse parents after this- they're explicitly told NOT to ever
leave their kids alone if they want to make sure they're safe. They
ignore this rule several times, not to mention ignoring the
unbelievably obvious signs that their kids are showing them. As for the
CCTV footage, It's all about stop, fast forward, quick flash, fuzzy
screen, gray blob, that sort of thing. When you actually see the
aliens, they look exactly like the most stereotypical alien you can
Ultimately, a few of these moments are bound to creep you out a bit,
especially if you never watch horror movies. With that said, there's no
skill to just trot out cheap scare after cheap scare. On top of that,
as I mentioned earlier, this movie gets tougher and tougher to swallow
as it moves along, to the point where it all just gets ridiculous. When
something really out of the ordinary happens involving some animals and
the Barret home, why does everyone still think that the obviously
distressed Barret family is beating their children? Why is it that
these super-smart aliens fumble with human doors? Why are they
implanting humans with devices?
Folks, there is nothing new here. Dark Skies steals from movies that
were far superior that came before it, and really falls apart by the
time it's all over. This is a third choice rental, at best.
Video / Audio
Video comes to us with a 2.40:1 widescreen 1080p transfer,
pretty good. The level of detail in some scenes is incredible and
really shows off what high definition is about. However, the contrast
levels tend to lead to some off-blacks, which makes things a bit
uneven. Still, pretty good-looking unless you're a nitpicker.
Audio is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, which
awesome. Seriously, this is a practically flawless track that is mixed
expertly. Great stuff.
First up, a commentary track with Writer/Director Scott
Producer Jason Blum, Executive Producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and
Editor Peter Gvozdas. This one is jam-packed with information
this film actually came to be (shockingly enough, it was once a found
Other than that, you get 9 deleted
and alternate scenes, with optional
director commentary. I'm not big on these sorts of things- the
alternate cuts are only slightly longer than the original, and the
deleted scenes were deleted for a reason. Look out for an alternate
ending which doesn't really make much difference.
Also, a DVD and Ultraviolet copy of the film are
This is a horror movie on cruise control that is at best, watchable. It doesn't break any new ground whatsoever and suffers from a lot of really lame twists and character decisions. Unless you're a huge fan, I'd wait for the bargain bin and even then choose carefully.