It’s not on our list of this year’s most anticipated movies, but Dark Skies has been on my personal radar for the last few months. From the producer of the Paranormal Activity series and Sinister, the best horror movie of 2012, Dark Skies had me ready to get my Fourth Kind freak on and self-incept some nightmares from the final frontier the way that Milla Jovovich mockumentary and ‘90s cult sci-fi thriller Fire in the Sky effed with me, but ultimately Dark Skies isn’t terrifying or otherworldly enough to be strongly considered as a reason to rush to theaters.
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.