Action Movie Fanatix Review: Dark Skies

Action Movie Fanatix review banner for Dark SkiesFear The Dark

Starring: Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Kadan Rockett, J.K. Simmons

Director: Scott Charles Stewart

2013 | 97 Minutes | PG-13

“What am I doing in the kitchen?” – Daniel

Dark Skies seemed to be overlooked by darn near everyone. I knew that the movie existed but it seemed like it came and went from theaters too quick for anyone to have actually seen it. It’s really too bad, too, because I quite liked it.

Lacy (Keri Russell) and Daniel (Josh Hamilton) Barrett and their two children start experiencing some odd things in their suburban household. They begin to expect that the disturbances may be of extraterrestrial origin and get set to defend the home and their family from the invaders.

I think the problem Dark Skies had at the box office was that it looked a little too much like the glut of alien and horror movies we have seen in theaters over the past number of years. I suppose that assumption is somewhat accurate. Dark Skies isn’t SUPER original but it is nicely crafted.

The movie gets to the scares pretty quickly. There isn’t a whole lot of time wasted before getting right into what we all came for. The build to the big scares is really well done because it takes things really slowly… kind of. There’s tons of small scares but it takes quite a while before you get to the really good stuff.

The acting is great from all parties, even the kids. You really feel for this family and quick. The movie spends more time with a lens focused on the interpersonal relationships within this family than it does on scary aliens. When Daniel, an architect, finally finds a new job after having been unemployed for a while, you can’t help but do a little fist pump for the guy. Good for you! And when the weird stuff is happening you just hope that they make it out alright.

A part of what makes Dark Skies scares so effective is that this is all happening in a normal suburban neighborhood. We are so used to seeing aliens terrorizing country folk out in the middle of nowhere, this felt – to this suburban boy – that nobody is safe.

The aliens themselves aren’t actually seen too much, and when they are it’s only for short times but I still liked their look. They are the standard skinny body / big head aliens that we are used to seeing but they appear to be about 7 feet tall. The fact that they usually only flash on the screen for a couple seconds makes them all the more scary.

Dark Skies was probably just a little too clichéd to have done real blockbuster numbers at the box office and I wonder if producers didn’t realize it early on, opting to only give the movie a short, under-advertised run. I’d still recommend it to fans of this type of movie. I enjoyed it.

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