Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Unoriginal and Uncaptivating
Generally speaking, movies revolving around the topic of aliens have a specific responsibility to its audience. Not only does it have to be original and captivating, it also needs to be compelling in order to achieve the other two. Without being compelling, the movie immediately loses most, if not all credibility. Basically, no one wants to see it, because they have no reason to believe it. Unfortunately for the producer of two modern scares, Paranormal Activity and Insidious, his latest horror film, Dark Skies just could not hold any of what it needed to in order to actually be…well…any good.
In our dark tale tonight, we focus in on a family of four being tormented by what could only be described as alien encounters. Their kitchen seemed to be the hotspot for their visitors as the film opened, as most of their objects were ransacked before stacked from floor to ceiling in a neat arrangement. When the police checked it out, they immediately grew suspicious of the children, and suspected they had something to do with it…in their sleep. Clearly noting that idea is bonkers, the parents set up cameras around the house and update their security system to catch the aliens red-handed. Meanwhile, an alien specialist (J.K. Simmons) examines the truthfulness of their accusations before telling them to wage war against the aliens, or “The Greys” as he would like to call them.
We can laugh all we want about the ridiculous premise, but when it comes right down to it, it is more stereotypical than anything else. What’s worse is that it takes those clichés and stereotypes and goes over-serious trying to sell the message…it’s so wishy-washy that it is almost a soap opera with all of the overacting involved. The fact of the matter is that the movie had nothing new to offer. Everything that was said and shown was things we have already seen and heard multiple times before. As you can probably tell, there’s nothing compelling about that…whatsoever.
Think about all of the most successful alien movies you have ever seen before, movies like E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, or even Signs. Each one of them had elements that you could fall in love with, characters you could fall in love with, and they usually have something specific and different about aliens that make it compelling…possibly believable. A great example would be Steven Spielberg’s Taken mini-series, each episode was two hours long and so many people could never get enough of it. Dark Skies seemed to take a little bit out of each of these, most notably Signs, and borrowed things from Paranormal Activity and used the tone from Insidious. This was more or less a collage of random things…in the end people are just going to say…who cares?
The visuals were okay, nothing you will remember in the long run, but as it is, there are some great-looking shots thrown in here and there. The acting is actually done very well, but the casting didn’t seem to be the best. The plot, while similar to many others, was in fact solid, and simple to follow. As you can see, the movie itself didn’t do everything wrong, but it is just sometimes difficult to see all of the good amongst the rest of the bad.
If you are looking for a good horror film, sometimes it is a better idea just to journey to the past to pick a movie than to pick a more modern flick. Just stay away from this disappointment and you’ll do okay. Dark Skies came to DVD and Blu-Ray on May 21, check it out if you don’t feel like listening to this review!