The coolest thing about Dark Skies was probably the Arthur C. Clarke quote in the beginning.
“Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” The quote itself is very creepy and is used here for that effect. Of course this movie did very little to live up to it’s claim as a scary horror film.
I rented this movie knowing full well that I didn’t want to waste my time and money seeing it in theaters and I am really glad I stuck to that opinion after seeing the trailer. The thing about Dark Skies is that it isn’t an awful film, it’s probably not even the worst thing you’ll see all year, but it is extremely generic. It opens up and immediately becomes a derivative hodge podge of things you’ve seen in Poltergeist, Paranormal Activity, (This is odd because you are, in fact, watching a film about aliens.) Close Encounters, Signs and a slew of other films. This movie pulls so much from the past that I really couldn’t take it seriously most of the time. It also felt like a bloated and poorly written episode of The X-Files, sans the beloved FBI agents.
Basically, young son is terrorized every night by “The Sandman,” which is clearly a creepy alien standing over his bed, a bunch of unexplainable events occur, (birds dive-bombing the house like it’s Pearl Harbor, weird marks on the family’s bodies, stuff stacked in the kitchen, etc.) finally, and predictably, the family looks for aid from a conspiracy theorist-previous abduction victim-alien expert, and more weird things ensue. The movie got somewhat better as it went along, but was still nothing great. Clearly the abduction plot has been done to death so I’m sure it’s not easy to come up with something extremely fresh, but this didn’t even attempt to do anything different.
Now there were a few decent creeps given in some scenes, some scares will always work, even in bland films. Nothing earth-shattering, but they did their job. I’d say the best part of the whole film was probably the fact that cast did their job. No one really phoned it in. Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton and J.K. Simmons pull their weight as the characters. The kids are pretty good too. So at least the movie was cast fairly well. There’s a few “twists,” especially towards the end which would be OK if the evidence to support them were presented better. You’ll definitely exclaim a “WTF?” within the last ten minutes. You have two reasons to watch Dark Skies: A. You haven’t seen a ton of alien movies and won’t be bored by the plot (I suggest watching the classics instead) or B. You feel like renting a generic horror flick.
Overall I give it a C- just because the cast was pretty good and I actually didn’t hate the movie as much as I expected to. Originally I wanted to give it a D+, but I’ll boost it a little bit. Just about worth a rental.