FUCKING ALIENS, AM I RIGHT GUYS?! If you’ve read my recent reviews of Signs or V/H/S/2, you’ll be familiar with the fact that alien movies creep me out. Even if you haven’t read those reviews, now you know that ALIEN MOVIES CREEP ME OUT. I don’t really remember many reviews of Dark Skies when it originally came out, but since when does that matter? I review so much random garbage that I figured I’d try watching a movie that was at least released in theaters. Not only was it released in theaters, but it was released in that prime late winter time of the year where ALL the great horror movies come out! Yikes. Do you guys remember the good old days when horror movies were released and it didn’t say the words “Paranormal Activity” or “Insidious” anywhere on them? How many fucking producers did all of these movies have that now all they have to do is throw ten bucks at a project so that their names can be used on a poster? I most recently fell for this trick with The Purge, and you guys know how that played out. I at least had some hopes that I’d enjoy a movie about aliens more than a home invasion movie, but boy, was I wrong!
There was a moment where I thought this was secretly a Birdemic sequel, but in that moment, I was very wrong.
Weird events start happening to the Barrett family, from their house being broken into and refrigerator ransacked to objects being strangely stacked in their kitchen inexplicably. Around this time, the youngest son in the family starts talking about seeing “The Sandman” in his room, making his parents quite nervous. The strange events start escalating, from birds mysteriously crashing into the windows of their house and dying to the youngest son wandering out of the house in the middle of the night and even family members blacking out and losing hours of their day with no memory of what had happened. After some internet searching, mom Lacy (Keri Russell) finds information that makes her think the family is being visited by aliens. Her husband, Daniel (Josh Hamilton), thinks she’s crazy, but when he sees footage on security cameras that he’s set up that proves maybe there’s some truth to what she’s theorizing. Daniel and Lacy go speak to an “expert” (played by J.K. Simmons) who gives them advice on how to protect their family. Daniel buys a gun, boards up their house, and waits for the aliens to make their move. They do make their move, but the confrontation isn’t quite what the family had expected, leaving them confused and defenseless, and despite their best efforts, the aliens are able to get what they came for.
Oh yeah! I forgot to mention how terrible the CGI aliens looked. Let me use this time to say how terrible the CGI aliens looked.
Goddammit guys, I really wanted to give this movie a shot! Maybe it was because I’ve recently watched alien movies that I enjoy that this one was so hard for me to get into. There were some segments that worked well enough, like the birds sequence or seeing footage of a shadowy figure standing near the beds of the family, but a lot of the attempts at creating eerie effects fell flat. Characters falling into seizure-like trances with mouths wide open, objects strangely arranged, or a children’s drawing of hanging out with an alien are all things that we’ve seen countless times. Oh shit, not to mention the fact that the kids are the ones seeing the creepy freaks and give it a non-threatening nickname! How many fucking times have we seen that?! I get it, The Exorcist did it so I’m not saying it can’t be done, but does every horror movie with kids and the supernatural have to have that bullshit? And, again, maybe it’s just because I’ve seen Signs so recently, but are you seriously going to have a sequence of all the characters boarding up their house against aliens, sitting down for dinner, and spending time recounting their favorite memories? It felt like it was ripped right out of that movie, except I never really connected with this family dynamic. There wasn’t much chemistry between Russell and Hamilton’s character, let alone their children, although I did enjoy Russell’s performance on its own. J.K. Simmons also played a much more subdued character than he normally plays, which was enjoyable to see, especially when we’ve seen that character before in a much more frantic, paranoid way. I did also enjoy that there wasn’t any forced reasoning as to why this family specifically was chosen by the aliens, and the very last scene ended abruptly after hinting at what happened to one specific character, but the overall generic feel of the whole thing and having to see sequences we’ve seen countless other times made this movie pretty forgettable, even if it does have fucking aliens in it.
Wolfman Moon Scale