Dark Skies- 97min – PG13
I am very sad that there are not more good horror movies out there. I love the type of horror movie where I am holding my breath and sitting very still because I am scared that I might be found out by the big bad. Horror movies of today have not worked out for me at all. Dark Skies is another in a long list of poorly executed horror movies that have no clue as to what building tension is. They depend on the shadowy figure jump tactics that real put me to sleep because the frightening bits are so telegraphed, HEY EVERYONE WE ARE GOING TO BE SNEAKY HERE AND SCARE YOU, COMING UP, ITS RIGHT HERE, ALMOST THERE… NOW!!!!Were You Scared? What is scary is that I have yet another film that rates a Red light.
Lacy and Daniel Barrett (Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton) live an average life trying to make ends meet, Daniel is out of work and Lacy is in real estate, they are struggling because of the recent recession. Their two boys, Jesse and Sam (Dakota Goyo, Kadan Rockett) live normal lives. Things start to change when the family starts experiencing some strange events like all of the food in the kitchen suddenly being stacked up around the kitchen. When the boys are asked about it Sam says it was the “Sand Man”. Three different flocks of birds all kamikaze the house from three different directions, strange injuries appear on the family. The family loses control over their bodies and their minds.
The problems with this movie are all stem from the fact they are taking a standard horror movie haunting and trying to give it a twist. Most of the set up is very clichéd, but I am glad they have moved away from the found footage plot device but they did mix in a lot of the security camera elements.
It seems that you have no control over your body is a big draw from horror filmmakers. As horrifying a concept as that is, if you do not lead your audience through the process and give them the needed information as to why it’s going on it comes off as creepy but doesn’t truly grip your audience.
Scott Stewart wrote and directed this movie, his track record as the lead of a movie is short but he has a lot of industry experience. As hard as this is to believe he is getting better at his craft, it’s not where it needs to be but there are improvements over the last film Priest, but not much.
Warring Spoilers!!! Caution a larger than normal amount under here, Click here to see the ranting!!!!
Ok, problem one: if the aliens take control of the people and they are powerless to do anything, fighting like Edwin (J.K. Simmons) tells them to is pointless. This is a problem with the script; if you set down ground rules play by them. If the aliens have the power to make Daniel stand out in the cold like a freak staring at the stars and Lacy Walk over to the plate glass window and make her bash her head over and over again, you have no hope of fighting them with a dog and a shot gun.
As a side note when Keri started bashing her head over and over again, I thought to myself, “Honey I know how you feel.” My head felt the same way. They should have given the characters a way out of the all overpowering control the Aliens had over them. Something that was painful but necessary to keep the aliens at bay.
The second problem I have is the very condescending wrap up at the end. When a movie feels it has to give you a montage of all the hints they gave you leading up to the hook the just sprang on you. You are not telling your story right or you are underestimating your audience. For example In Sixth Sense the call backs to the hints as the character is making the realization is blended into the story. In this movie they give the hook and you then get a lesson in where the hints were. It did not play as well because it was mostly shots back to Keri Russell who is doing the same thing, no action to take us along the thought process.
What do you want horror film makers to do? Do you feel that we are in the golden age of horror movies and nothing needs to change; or do you think they could do a lot better than they have been?