Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dark Skies

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I have to admit, though, I found it strange that they made an entire film about the color of someones skies.  They could have at least prefaced it on whether they were the water or snow variety.

Dark Skies – 3 out of 5

When is Hollywood going to make an alien film that focuses entirely on them abducting hillbillies, anally probing them and then releasing them back on the world where they can entertain us with their stories? Or one where dudes with freaky haircuts that they clearly did themselves talk about how all wonders that mankind has triumphantly achieved throughout history was done totally by aliens? Never, I guess.

The look of horror from someone who just saw the size of the probe.

"You wanna kill me, aliens?  Over my dead body--wait."
Dark Skies is the story about a small suburban family that is dealing with some hard financial times as the husband has no job (but the movie shows us that he goes to job interviews with a 5 o’clock shadow’s 5 o’clock shadow, so it’s no real surprise why the companies aren’t falling over themselves to hire him) and the wife is a realtor (and we already know how awful the housing market is…like it’s…um…really bad—sorry, I rent and have no real understanding of owning a house and, therefore, incapable of making a housing market joke). While all these troubles piled up, mysteries start to occur in their home as their kitchen is vandalized, their family photos stolen, flocks of birds kamikaze-ing their feathery asses into the house and the wife, Lacy (Keri Russell), spotting a shadowy figure in one of her sons’ rooms in the night. As Lacy and her husband Daniel (Josh Hamilton) try to figure out what is going on, the events happening to themselves and their children; Jesse (Dakota Goyo) and Sam (Kadan Rockett), start to become more frightening as they experience time loss and bouts where they are incapable of controlling their bodies.

It's like some kind of birdemic.  Quick, grab a coat hanger!

Lacy becomes increasingly more frightened (while their neighbors become more paranoid) as whatever is tormenting them has set their sights on the youngest son; Sam—who refers to these intruders as “The Sandman.” Doing what any of us would do when unexplainable shit goes down, she hits the internet and comes across a man who seems to know exactly what they are going through. Lacy and Daniel seek out the wisdom of the quiet recluse; Edwin Pollard (J.K. Simmons), where he informs them that they have been chosen by a species not of this Earth…and they are coming to take them away.

"You know we have some time before the aliens get us..."

I saw this trailer when it was coming to the theaters and was really sold on the idea of seeing it. I 100% believe in the existence of other life in the universe (but don’t believe they have been here) and I love films about aliens—no matter the genre—although, sometimes they can get pretty freaking bad. The thing, however, that really sold me on this was the horror aspect—yes, a lot of movies about aliens are horror based but this one looked like it took the aspect of a ghost-infused scary movie but did it with aliens. From the trailer, it looked like it was going to have all the subtle (yet urine-soaked pants) horror of Signs without all the talks about God, M. Night’s ego trying to invade pointless scenes with himself in it and Mel Gibson’s rant about how Jews are taking over the government (I might have made that last one up…but it’s Mel, so who knows?).

"I can't hear anything, my hair has grown into my ears."

For the most part, I enjoyed Dark Skies but it did lack in a single department that kept me from enjoying it more. First off, I really dug the story because it was a scary alien abduction film without getting too crazy (however, I still think Fire in the Sky remains one of the best—and probably the most frighteningly realistic looking alien abduction films). The acting is all great with Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton really carrying the film well as the two parents who are trying to figure out exactly what the fuck is going on in their home without shrieking and running for the hills like I would and also trying to maintain a balance of dealing with their personal issues (like money and no job) and keeping up appearances so the neighbors don’t think the Manson family redux just moved in next door. I also really enjoyed Simmons role as the abduction expert that deals the bad news to the husband and wife. Simmons role is small but memorable thanks to his quiet and eerie delivery—and Simmons is just an all-around awesome actor so getting to see him in a movie, even for a few minutes, is like watching a rainbow rain hundred dollar bills.

I think he knows how awesome he is.

Some little boys find no joy when a bikini clad young
woman is around them.
The movie has some great scares littered throughout the film and does a fantastic job at building tension—hell, there was even a single scene that made me leap out of my seat into a perfectly executed karate stance ready to kick the little green butts of any aliens that may have made the jump from my television screen to the immediate area around me. The only problem was that most of the scenes that are building tension are building to a suspenseful final climax and not an immediate gratifying scare. While, in theory, this isn’t a bad thing as it makes the ending that much more intense (not to mention they provided a decent twist in the story there that I wasn’t expecting) but for an immediate scare that the music suggests is going to take place, it can be slightly disappointing.

Unlike the other times, this time the alien was just tucking the kid in.

For some reason, the blood soul-patch never caught on.
Finally, most of the scary sequences—the kind that literally make you feel like you are going to vomit with sheer terror and not the kind of scary where you go, “Hmm, that’s fucked up and really creepy…let me pause this film so I can get something deep fried and injected with cheese into my belly before I continue my enjoyment of the film”—but most of these sequences are two few in number. While the end of the film culminates into something spectacular and creepy (albeit, it gets a little weird to the point in nearly ruined the ending for me) the vast majority of the “HOLY CRAP, THERE IS SOMETHING BEHIND YOU AND/OR IN THE SHADOWS” moments number far too little. I really, really wanted more sequences of the invaders being seen—or barely seen, to truly cement the unleashing of my fear tears—and was greatly disappointed that you don’t really seen much of them. That was actually one of the aspects I found most frightening about Signs; the fact you constantly caught glimpses of the aliens. The other thing I found frightening in that film was M. Night’s performance and his absolutely unnecessary monologue he gives.

This is one of those HOLY CRAP moments.

Dark Skies is a pretty decent alien-themed horror film that does offer your spine some courteous chilling and the story is pretty solid in its construction with the support beams being some strong performances from a small cast—not entirely sure why I broke into a construction metaphor there when I should have went with a U.F.O. metaphor or another anal probe joke. The only real downside I had for the movie was the fact the deep scares this movie could have created wasn’t fully utilized—however, a nice use of misdirection and a twist in the film’s ending helps make this complaint minor and ultimately makes the film a pretty decent one.

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