UK Release Date: 3rd April 2013
Runtime: 97 minutes
Director: Scott Stewart
Writer: Scott Stewart
Starring: Josh Hamilton, Keri Russell
Synopsis: A suburban family experience strange disturbances at night and soon realise that their family is being visited by malevolent beings from outer space.
Having not seen Mama with Jessica Chastain, Dark Skies was my first horror experience of 2013 since the fun, but forgettable Texas Chainsaw 3D. Although, to call it a horror film may be a dab of praise too far. It would have to have been scary for that.
Dark Skies is the latest entry in the “suburban family terrorised by supernatural threat in their home” sub-genre. The Barret family, led by mother Keri Russell and father Josh Hamilton, begin to experience strange night-time intrusions to their home, as well as strange blackouts, seizures and birds flying into their house in huge quantities.
It eventually becomes clear, after an unfeasibly long time of plodding monotony, that extra-terrestrial beings with an appearance cribbed straight from internet sensation Slender Man are responsible. The first appearance of these creatures is the only decent scare in Dark Skies, with their continued presence neutering their creepy value.
It also doesn’t help that the entirety of Dark Skies is simply a Frankenstein’s monster made up of other, better, horror and sci-fi movies and TV shows. There are scenes obviously referencing E.T., The Birds, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and even the Torchwood serial Children of Earth. It unfortunately gets to the point where playing ‘Spot the Reference’ is considerably more entertaining than the film.
There’s also the unfortunate problem that Dark Skies has one of the most derivative scripts in recent memory. Every character has ropey dialogue, which isn’t helped by the woeful acting of everyone involved. When the textbook ‘Wise Expert’ character appears at the end of the second act, he speaks entirely in a mix of exposition and cliché, which adds a new level of boredom to Dark Skies at the point where it is beginning to feel like an endurance test.
Unfortunately for horror fans, these lazy, cliché-ticking movies continue to provide a steady stream of income and so they will probably continue to get made.
The most interesting thing about Dark Skies is that its title sums up the state of its genre.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.