Dark Skies (2013) Film Review

From the makers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious, Scott Stewart brings a slow horror with a surprising twist.

Dark Skies follows a typical American family whom live a normal life in the suburban area. Apart from suffering from financial issues, the Barrett family begins to experience strange, disturbing events. First starting off with their younger son Sammy (Kaden Rockett) whom becomes friends with the ‘sand man’. Followed by nosebleeds, weird ear rashes and food shenanigans, mother Lacy (Keri Russell) realizes this is more than just a break through. After researching the strange events, she finds the answers to her questions.

Indeed, Dark Skies brings a surprising element, raising a few enigmas. Initially I thought the Film would encounter ghosts or demons, however we were taken on a different route of aliens! A very similar style to The Fourth Kind, however this time we actually got to see a few of these Aliens. The Barrett family’s house becomes the target of these unknown species, whereby something is attracting them to this particular house.

We were hardly given any scares, where the film was not frightening at all. The film lacked the solid horror factor and the slow pacing didn’t exactly help. Stewart gives us recycled horror conventions, which are now too over used and simply do not give us the impact intended. The kid drawing pictures, video taping the house and the cops not believing them; it was all too cliché, leading us to the ‘boring’ avenue.

“Mommy what I am doing outside” – Sammy

On a lighter note, there were a few memorable scenes which were profoundly enthralling to watch; Keri banging her head against the window, the sudden flock of dead birds and getting your soul sucked out. Likewise, a few of the solutions were cleverly implemented and gave us something to think about.

The Barrett family were not only a stereotypical American family, but had there own personal flaws. A loose family bond and lack of spending much time with each other gave the film some drama. Jesse (Dakoto Goyo), the older son had this rebellious yet reserved thing about him. He clearly had mixed in with the wrong friends and quite frankly was not the focus of the film until the end (which was shocking). Sammy played that eerie kid whose voice was quite freaky when experienced paranormal activities. We were solely focused on Sammy for answers, however our predictions were surely wrong. Keri Russell was superb as Lacy. Her serious concern as a mother and frustration was clearly evident on her face and body gestures. The scene where she became irritable was so realistically portrayed. Likewise, Josh Hamilton whom played the father; Daniel gave us that jerk type attitude whom also played the ‘I-don’t-believe-in-aliens’ factor. Though I have to admit, his hero-like attitude towards the end of the film was applaudible.

J.K Simmons (Edwin) whom played the expert in aliens provided a conventional touch to the film. Giving us direct answers, we were finally given a possible ending. His subtle yet confident dialogue gently polished the film. His wall of missing children left us in a gawking state.

Overall, Dark Skies is one of those films that doesn’t give you much of a horror but slightly delivers its story. The conventional themes integrated gives us no hope, yet the climax in the middle builds up giving us a promising ending. We’re left hanging on the edge, where we’re keen for answers. But I guess we’ll just have to wait for Dark Skies 2.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Written by: Meera Darji

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