I don’t talk about this much, but I’ve always been fascinated with alien-abduction movies. I’ve already confessed many times that I LOVE the ALIEN franchise, but that’s different…those creatures are not abductors, they’re just mean, ferocious, unstoppable killing machines. The alien-abduction movies I’m referring to now are those that usually deal with Grays, the name given to the abductors from those who have supposedly been taken. When I saw Anchor Bay was handling DARK SKIES, I knew it was going to be a must-see for me. And although the film reiterates many existing tropes of abduction movies, this is still a must-watch. DARK SKIES is a top-notch horror flick that will make you squirm.
If you are not familiar with DARK SKIES, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay:
From the producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Sinister comes Dark Skies: a supernatural thriller that follows a young family living in the suburbs. As husband and wife Daniel and Lacey Barret witness an escalating series of disturbing events involving their family, their safe and peaceful home quickly unravels. When it becomes clear that the Barret family is being targeted by an unimaginably terrifying and deadly force, Daniel and Lacey take matters in their own hands to solve the mystery of what is after their family.
I think the primary allure of alien-abduction movies for me is that the victim(s) is usually so powerless that no matter what they do, the ending is always the same: someone is taken. I’m not sure why this strikes such a primal nerve for me, but I always get chills when watching these kinds of movies. I guess that’s why I find them so effective in regard to entertainment value.
DARK SKIES is extremely successful in the thrills and chills department. The film is shot very well and many of the camera shots emphasize, if not enhance, these scares. I caught myself jumping at various points throughout the film, so many times that I actually laughed at myself for getting so worked up. The acting is also great and the production value is very high. Overall, this movie looks excellent on-screen.
The special effects, although few and far between here, are good, and I am particularly impressed with how the production team decided to tackle the appearance of the Grays. Instead of soulless blobs of color or over-detailed, humanistic beings, the effects team decided to make them vague, but with just enough detail to scare the crap out of the audience. You truly have to see them to catch what I mean. But I tip my hat to that decision, as it makes the feel of the movie even creepier.
My sole complaint about DARK SKIES is that we’ve seen pretty much everything the movie has to offer before, in previous films. Now, don’t get me wrong: I am NOT trying to dissuade you from seeing this film. On the contrary, I highly suggest you check it out. It is made well and should entertain even the most diehard of horror fans on some level. But…do not go into this one expecting something new. You will probably be disappointed if you do.
DARK SKIES is a definitive win for me and I recommend giving it a look. There are plenty of chilling scenes in this film to sink your teeth into, and the ending has a slight twist that should leave you feeling cold. Be sure and check out the alternate ending as well in the Bonus Features; I actually prefer the existing one, but the alternate was pretty cool, too. This film hits store shelves next week, so make a note.