Dark Skies Review

Dark Skies

Now I’m not a smart guy, but Stephen Hawking is; so when he talks about aliens contacting mankind being similar to what happened america’s native folk when Columbus landed on their shores, that’s enough for me to know it’d probably be bad.

But what if aliens aren’t waiting to make contact with us because they’re already here?

In a quiet, suburban town, in quiet suburban america, your typical american family go about scratching out a very decent life for themselves.

Ok, so the dad’s in between jobs right now, but who isn’t these days; and he still manages to put a roof over his wife and their two sons’ heads, and food on the table.

So things are naturally a little strained between mum and dad right now, but that doesn’t really account for a few other strange things going on in their house.

Like when mum wakes in the middle of the night to find someone’s been through the entire contents of their fridge before beating a hasty retreat through the back door.

Even though it was locked.

And the next night, mum comes down to a weirdly brilliant impromptu structure of recycled goods and kitchen crockery that seems to project some sort of star map onto their ceiling.

Understandably concerned by these events, the slightly estranged parents presume their kids are acting up because mummy and daddy are arguing.

But when events take a turn for the sinister, this mum and dad team start asking some uncomfortable questions about what’s really happening to their family.

Dark Skies is a new supernatural thriller about what else lies outside our galactic window although, slight spoiler alert, the skies aren’t really that dark other than at night.

Beginning with a quote from Arthur C Clarke about how we should be terrified whether we’re alone in this universe or not, director Scott Stewart employs some tried and tested methods to creep out an audience.

So there’s things moving about at night, but you can’t really make out what they are.

There’s eerie sound effects used at every available opportunity, we’ve got being targeted in the dead of night and seeing things adults don’t and there’s nowt creepier than hearing said innocent kiddywinks talk about things not of this world that their innocence only amplifies.

While these elements are familiar, Scott also executes them really well, so that you find yourself falling for the same old tricks you know you shouldn’t.

Having recently seen the god awful remake of The Evil Dead, it’s bizarre to compare the subtleties and sleight of hand that typically make up a supernatural thriller with the predictable and hoary old clichés horror films prefer.

I know which of these got the better end of the deal.

Dark Skies cast is relatively low key, which works well with the idea of making the story the star of this show, with the notable exception of J.K. Simmons as a reclusive yet prophetic extra-terrestrial expert.

The ending was a bit too signposted for my tastes, but Dark Skies is a decent watch that will get you on the end of your seat.

As for aliens turfing us off of our, ah, turf a la Columbus, if it means I get a free casino out of it then I say hello and welcome my little green overlords.

Jonathan Campbell

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April 2013
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