The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Dark Skies | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Dark Skies

A suburban family find themselves targeted by aliens.

Directed by: Scott Stewart
Starring: Keri Russell, Jake Brennan, Josh Hamilton, J.K. Simmons, Kadan Rockett, Dakota Goyo

Daniel (Hamilton) and Lacy (Russell), a suburban couple with two boys, find themselves plagued by a series of increasingly strange and disturbing occurrences. It begins with cutlery being rearranged in the kitchen and the usual bumps in the night. Youngest son Sammy (Rockett) claims it's the work of "The Sandman" who visits him at night but his parents don't take him seriously. After installing an alarm, they find their home is still inexplicably being breached. One afternoon, a flock of birds commit mass suicide by flying into the house from three different directions. Lacy investigates and, after consulting alien expert Edwin Pollard (Simmons), discovers Sammy is being targeted for abduction.
It's often said that horror movies subconsciously reflect the mood of the time they were released. During the thirties, movies like 'Dracula' and 'The Mummy' reflected America's fear of the mass immigration the country was experiencing. The shooting of Duane Jones in 'Night of the Living Dead' echoed that of Martin Luther King. When rednecks were killing out-of-their-depth city dwellers in 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and 'Deliverance', who couldn't think of Vietnam? 'Dark Skies' makes a conscious effort to reflect the global financial crisis but it does so in an exceptionally ham-fisted manner. For the movie's first half, we're constantly told how the family are struggling yet we see no real evidence of this. Lots of money appears to be spent on installing CCTV cameras and alarm systems. Lacy seems to hold down a real estate job despite showing no evidence that she possesses any sales ability.
The story is told by the numbers but, if you can stay awake and pay attention, you'll see the numbers don't add up. Writer-director Stewart seems to be working from a first draft script which nobody else bothered to read. Had they taken the time to check, they would have found a host of inconsistencies. We learn early on that the aliens can move through walls yet, in the film's climax, the family make a huge deal of boarding up their windows. The oldest son, Jessie (Goyo), is 14 at the start of the film but regresses to 13 at the film's end. In the aftermath of the bird attack, a clean-up crew are kitted out in HazMat suits yet they allow a pair of teenage boys to run around the closed off scene picking up birds with their bare hands. You're left wondering who is dumber; the film's creator or the film's characters?
In one scene, Lacy blacks out, losing the previous six hours. After watching 'Dark Skies', you'll wish you could lose the previous two.