What I am about to tell you may come as a complete shock and even after you read it you still may think I am kidding, but it's the truth.
Dark Skies is solid genre entertainment. There you go. I already feel better after getting that off my chest.
It is a sci-fi thriller that takes its time and never feels like it must be in a hurry. The suspense slow-burning while never revealing too much at once. This makes a huge difference and elevates the moments that are truly chilling. And while the movie really has nothing to do with the color of the sky, it does involve alien-abductions yet the real focus is on the family, and the audience is given a chance to actually get to know them. We get the opportunity to invest in these characters and care about their relentless fight to stay together. It does not hurt to have strong performances either.
This supernatural thriller stars Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton as Lacy and Daniel Barret, a financially and emotionally struggling couple who are trying to raise their two sons in the peaceful suburbs. Lacy can't sell a house and Daniel can't find a job so it's undeniable that times are tough for them. However, it goes from bad to worse once weird, disturbing things begin happening all around them. They are waking up in the middle of the night with kitchen items stacked to the ceiling and pictures just disappearing right out of their frames. Oh and not to mention three different flocks of birds crashing in to their home and breaking the windows. When events start to escalate, the family begin to show marks on their bodies and soon lose control of their mind and everything that goes along with it. Before it's too late, Daniel and Lacy go looking for answers on how to stop this force that wants their family and has made it obvious it does not come in peace.
The relationship between Russell and Hamilton really holds the entire movie in place. It just feels real as do their worries for their family. Their chemistry unmistakably pushes the story ahead in certain scenes when it appears to be stuck with no place to go. J.K. Simmons shows up and is always welcomed in to any kind of movie. Unfortunately, he does not do much in this one. He is the guy who is responsible for laying everything out on the table for the characters involved and for those of us watching in the theatre. And it's not even necessary because you will have no trouble keeping up in the first place, but for some reason it is something every horror movie can't live without.
Dark Skies is directed by Scott Stewart, who is also the director of Legion and Priest. So it is with great ease to say this movie is his best yet. He displays great restraint with the pacing and seems to be fully aware of less is more thus leading to a more perturbed experience for the moviegoers. We can all think of some scary flicks that do not understand this notion (I'm looking at you Mama). In no way is Dark Skies groundbreaking or original. It still follows a formula that others have done before. It still has children seeing things and is it just me or do the kids always attract these dark, deadly forces first? And, of course, there are drawings from Daniel and Lacy's youngest son and they aren't cute by any stretch of the imagination.
I suppose we are at a point where some things will never change, especially in a genre such as this one. While Dark Skies is guilty of not being inventive, it at least is smart enough to know what it is and how it should be handled. Again, it is not perfect and certainly flaws can be found, but it's still a tense, well orchestrated movie worth investing your time in. At this point, the fact Dark Skies keeps you on the edge of your seat for the better half of it is greatly appreciated.