Film: Dark Skies.
Directed by: Scott Stewart.
Running Time: 96 minutes.
The Film Dark Skies is an American horror story about a suburban family, the Barretts, who are tormented by inexplicable happenings and their attempts to understand and ultimately try to defy their fate.
The opening is an economical ground work of the type of setting (suburbia), people (suburbanites), and protagonists (suburban family) that the narrative is going to center on. The opening is good at establishing tools for filmmakers to work their intergalactic horror story through. You see hints that this is a community that is very much about appearance and reputation, gossiping with each other about this or that neighbor during a BBQ at the protagonist family’s house. You see hints that the father is stressed over an important position, the family’s lack of funds to support their middle class life style, his annoyance over his eldest son’s older friend, and his wife is too busy with her own work to have sex with him, providing a possible psychological component that could be utilized, perhaps to add an element of question in regards to the father’s perception of events.
Alright, so far so good, a solid opening foundation to work some modest cinema magic, with such possibilities hinted at in the beginning and an interesting premise to work through them, spectators should be in for a pretty decent horror film.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen.
Admittedly, there are some vague references to the protagonists dealing with some flack as the parents come across as possibly abusive, as the most tormenting happens to the youngest child, with the father having violent anger issues displayed to all and sundry when he tries to beat up his eldest son’s friend, but it is only shallowly scratched, with one passing possibility of child services taking the children, but nothing comes from that plot point and this prime opportunity for drama is wasted (which would have really added to the tension of the climax if the parents had to steal away their children before the aliens could). There is barely any interactions with their judging neighbors other than a few passing dirty looks and aghast faces. This could have paved the way to some necessary character and story development, some stellar drama, and gripping tension, but nope, those vital cinematic treats are not tossed the spectator’s way.
Things just happen in this movie, and granted there are some creepy scenes, and the actors did well with what they had (Keri Russell played an even better Keri Russell this time around), but the film maker’s set-up all these possibilities, and then just seemed to not know how to use any of it, a trend which went all the way to the ending which had a frankly unneeded half-assed last scene.
All in all, the movie is a “meh,” without much going for it other than some decent performances and a few scenes here and there. Though I am not one to promote remakes, this film perhaps needs a more knowledgeable hand in narrative development to really make it shine.
*Dark Skies trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8iLp1xQtPQ
For other movie reviews go to Film Reviews.