Reviewer’s Rating: ★★
When hearing that the producer of popular thrillers “Insidious,” “Sinister” and “Paranormal Activity,” has created a new movie, one’s mind will go directly to paranormal happenings and ghosts or demons lurking around in the shadows. However, “Dark Skies” doesn’t particularly follow any previous plots or ideas. It is a new thriller based on unworldly visitors, but ghosts and demons won’t appear on the screen. Instead, the film focuses on alien visitations and abductions.
Daniel and Lacey Barrett, played wonderfully by Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton, are parents to a pair of boys in a normal suburban neighborhood. Jesse (Dakota Goyo) is a typical teenage boy, getting into trouble whenever possible and defying his parents. He does, however, have a special relationship with his younger brother Sammy, who is played by the adorable Kadan Rockett. Jesse reads Sammy stories at night through a walkie-talkie and protects his brother whenever necessary. The family is experiencing some hard times, as Daniel has recently been laid off, and stresses start to affect everyone.
Just as in “Paranormal Activity,” among other thrillers, nothing insanely frightening happens at first. Mysterious events occur, such as food being strewed throughout the kitchen and the alarm system being activated when there are no open entries to the house. The plot starts to accelerate as the kids begin acting strangely. Sammy is found outside alone in the middle of the night, but the alarm never went off and all doors and windows are locked. Jesse seems to have a seizure, and geometric brands are found on various parts on his body.
As video cameras are placed throughout the house and Daniel sees strange figures standing over his family, he and Lacey visit an alien expert who tells them that they are basically doomed. He does give the couple a few pointers to possibly defend themselves. The family prepares for a fight by boarding the windows and gathering weapons.
A plot twist is apparent toward the end, but it wasn’t executed in the best way possible. Although there might be a few hints about the twist, it isn’t enough to suspect anything at all. The implications could have been more prevalent throughout the movie so viewers could be kept on their toes. Also, some aspects of the movie weren’t well thought out and can easily be questioned. When Sammy is found outside, no alarms were tripped. However, when the aliens arrive near the end of the film, the boarded doors and windows seem to keep them out for some time.
Fans of Jason Blum’s previous work won’t fully appreciate “Dark Skies,” but separately, it could be considered a decent movie about an extraterrestrial invasion. It definitely had the audience clenching their seats and jumping from time to time.