February 23, 2013 by Vinnie Leduc
Written and directed by Scott Stewart, Dark Skies handily surpasses his last movie, Priest, which also brought the sci-fi and horror genres together. Stewart’s new film beams more laughs than scares, but I have to admit to being rattled hard a couple of times. Despite an above average performance from Keri Russell and a strong setup, the forecast for Dark Skies isn’t bright.
The movie takes one of the most classic or generic sci-fi subjects and gives it an even more generic horror story treatment, one so broad that it comes complete with a PG-13 rating. Dark Skies essentially replaces ghosts with Greys, and the result is an extraterrestrial haunting or possession. Basically a horror movie with aliens, Dark Skies contains a vast array of typical horror elements: creepy kid contact, unavailable cops, dogs barking their heads off, domestically disruptive poltergeisty events, weird dreams and nightmares, mysterious stigmata and bruises, a skeptical key character that needs more convincing than others, and a guru helper with more info and a theory for a possible solution.
The first two-thirds could be enjoyable, but close encounters of the third act bring Dark Skies down to a crash landing as the unsatisfying last half hour is terrible. Because it never returns to the caliber of the passable first hour, Dark Skies can’t overshadow last month’s Mama. Too reliant on quick tricks and loud noises, it could’ve benefited from 3D and will likely lose its fear factor on video, where it’ll be exposed as merely a cookie cutter horror show with aliens subbing in for demons. Dark Skies gets 2.5 out of 5 stars.