Film: ‘Dark Skies’ Forecast Gloomy Results

By Nathan Gordon | ng312310@ohiou.edu | @GordonRises
Dark Skies | Directed by Scott Stewart | Rated PG-13
RATING: 2/5

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First Words

The people behind the marketing for Dark Skies TRIED to convince people to see their movie by stating that Jason Blum (producer) not only produced this film but also produced other popular scary movies like Paranormal Activity and Insidious (which, in my opinion, are two of the best movies to come out of the horror genre in the last several years). The marketers also quickly and quietly promoted that Scott Stewart (director) also directed Priest and Legion (two um…not so great movies). Going by the previous quality of work done by those two men, I’ll just let you figure out whose presence seems to shine more in this film.

Plot

A family’s life is disturbed when unexplained things start happening around then. They soon learn that they are under watch from a force that’s not from this world. The family must figure out what this force wants from them and why before it’s too late.

Positives

Dark Skies is one of the more calm scary movies I have seen of late-even though I don’t believe that’s what the makers behind the film were going for-but in this case it wasn’t a bad thing. The film immediately gets into the strange things happening to the family. Each incident gets more bizarre, but the level of bizarre doesn’t increase at a dramatic rate; the next just gets a tad bit stranger. The fact that something was constantly going on kept my attention and was somewhat entertained by it. On top of all that, the story attempted to throw in the added on stress of financial troubles for the family and the building tension between Daniel Barrett (Josh Hamilton) and his wife Lacy Barrett (Keri Russell). Unfortunately, these elements did not play a big role in the film as the movie got closer to wrapping up. But the idea itself was a nice addition, and would have made for a more interesting film, if implemented correctly. I still did enjoy when those pieces of the story were actually put into play.

Negatives

I realize that while pointing out the positives for the film, I also pretty much mentioned some of its negatives. I can’t help that what was good about this film couldn’t just be a good element by itself instead of being just a good piece inside of something could have been done much better overall. With that said, I won’t touch on those points here because I’m sure you all get the point by now. I’ll just move on to the fact that it’s clear Blum was a part of Paranormal Activity franchise and Insidious, but it doesn’t seem like he had a lot to say in what was actually in those films. I say that because the only resemblance from those films I see in Dark Skies are the loud score used to anticipate scares, similar to Insidious, and the video camera in the house technique used in Paranormal Activity 2. The only big differences are the quality of the films and how effective those elements are. Dark Skies falls behind those films in both categories. Even the overall look of the film Dark Skies falls behind. All these movies had fairly small budgets, but Dark Skies looks the cheapest to the point where it comes off silly. The “terrifying” creatures in the film are the least scary things I have ever seen, and playing loud music when they appear isn’t going to change that.

My biggest pet peeve with scary movies is a bad ending. For me, the overall quality of a scary movie could easily hinge on its ending. Dark Skies disappoints in this department too. The whole movie leading up to the third act feels like a waste, and when they even tried to explain why, it didn’t clearly explain it. That left me somewhat confused.

Last Words

The end of Dark Skies tried to lean toward the possibility of a sequel, but the makers of the film need to remove that thought from their heads (if they don’t, I’m sure the critics and the box office results will do it for them). Luckily for Dark Skies, the ending didn’t completely shred any sort of entertainment value I gained from first two acts. For a boring scary movie, I wasn’t as bored as I should have been.

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