Friday, March 1, 2013

Guest Review: Dark Skies

Get out your alien body snatchers, we're reviewing Dark Skies!
The intended focus here? The alien stalking her. All I focused on? Her mole.
And it's another special guest review from Noelle Loughran! Because I did not care to see Dark Skies. Sounds like I was right to avoid it! Spoilers ahead.

Did you need to do laundry? Or maybe something else tedious and mindless? Well if you're planning to go see Dark Skies, you might as well save your money and do something boring for free. 

Or at the very least, watch Poltergeist. The plot of Dark Skies is nothing short of a blatant rip-off. The main characters are a realtor and a stay at home parent, in a suburban neighborhood that gets visited by otherworldly beings. In Poltergeist, the mother is the stay at home, and the father is the realtor. In Dark Skies, it's the reverse, though the father, Daniel Barrett, (played by Josh Hamilton) is only a stay at home father because he lost his job, and is unsuccessful at finding a new one. It also feels deeply reminiscent of Paranormal Activity and Signs. It's basically a mash up of a handful of alien movies, with nothing new to add to the genre.

They are suffering from money troubles, but that turns out to be the least of their issues as strange occurrences begin plaguing their home. Keri Russell, playing Lucy Barrett, gives a good performance as a desperate mother and wife, but I find it a bit perturbing how easily she seems to forget her husband trashing the shit out of their son's room in a fit of rage over her not telling him about Sam's nightmare.

The movie is rather predictable, with long boring stretches that add little to the plot, and have the audience struggling to keep from dozing off. The moments of suspense aren't as 'edge-of-your-seat' as they're clearly meant to be, and the rest of the cast fails to really elevate this movie to anything more than just another alien movie that will be forgotten in a few months.

One brief shining moment where things actually got interesting was the arrival of J.K. Simmons - who gave an excellent performance as an odd-ball alien expert, filling the Barrett family in on just what is coming after them. It's a shame that he got so little screen time, because his character was the first thing to really get me interested, and then, he's gone. 

The movie spends far too much time on plot details that go nowhere, or contribute nothing to the climax of the movie. Like Daniel Barrett's search for a job - he finally does find one, but really, who cares? It has no bearing on the movie, and he likely ends up losing it after their son is abducted and he and his wife become suspects in his disappearance. And there's the bit about the bruises on Sam, and his friend's mother clearly thinks Lucy and/or Daniel are abusing him. Yet somehow, at the end of the movie, he's still with them, despite Jesse disappearing.

The ending is clearly setting up for a sequel - though I can't fathom who would actually want one. Lucy and Sam hear Jesse's voice coming through Sam's walkie-talkie, revealing him to be alive. It's an unnecessary twist that is more fitting to a Disney movie. All in all, this movie was a disappointment, and isn't worth the money. This reviewer recommends just skipping this one, or at least waiting until it's on Netflix for a bad movie night.

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