Saturday, 24 September 2016

Dark Skies

“Just because I can’t explain something doesn’t mean aliens are responsible.” Scott Stewart’s DARK SKIES (2013) charts life in the troubled household of Daniel and Lacey, and their sons - just as one of their boys is having puberty issues. The director of quite entertaining Paul Bettany vehicles, Legion (of angels and apocalypse), and Priest (an alternative-world dystopia based on a Korean comic-book), remixes bits from Poltergeist and Shyamalan’s Signs, but without much quirky inventiveness. Dark Skies prefers to keep its cake whole while also scoffing it down, well before teatime.

There’s a Sandman visitor in the dead of night (“Maybe if I just gave him my eyes, he would leave us alone,” says little Sammy). Walkie-talkies and webcam security offer no protection against swarming bird strikes in suburbia. Creepy intruder alerts prompt domestic meltdown into UFOlogy beliefs about missing-time episodes, sleepwalking disturbances, and implants for seemingly arbitrary mind-control. 

Are you ready for some claustrophobically close encounters? Yes, here is another 'X-File' about irresponsibly meddlesome aliens, similar to ‘stranger’ entities in Philippe Mora’s floppy/ pseudo-comical movie Communion, based upon Whitley Strieber’s book.  

J.K. Simmons (TV crime series The Closer) is the consultant ‘expert’ on Greys and whatnot. Predictable scares punctuate routine development of a hackneyed plot. Dark Skies, like its 1990s TV series namesake, is all played commendably straight but, sadly, despite a few effective chills, it’s never interesting enough to maintain adequate levels of suspense and/ or dramatic tension for longer than a few minutes at a time, before it lapses into longer stretches of acute boredom, enlivened only by clichéd twists.

Keri Russell in DARK SKIES

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