Jeffrey's Review of Dark Skies
Dark Skies is the sort of horror film that should only tangentially be categorized as a horror film. It has the premise of a science fiction horror film, but the execution of a standard drama, with the horror elements tact on sloppily in its last act. It It's a film that seems to set itself up for something good, yet never quite pays off. Taken on its own merits, it works better as a simple science fiction drama than anything else.
The story in Dark Skies revolves around a suburban couple, who encounter an increasingly bizarre array of events, aimed at their family. They begin to question their sanity, and eventually arrive at the conclusion that it's alien forces at play. This makes for an interesting, if not somewhat familiar premise. The family feels well realized, and the performances by both Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton offer some promise. The film starts with a restrained approach to the subject matter, and then gradually gets in to the horror elements.
The problem, however, is that the buildup is too slow and never substantial enough for its last act. In the third act, things spin out of control, as none of the events feel earned. In this way, Dark Skies can be thought of as a muddled film. There's long stretches when nothing of note happens and, when it does, it never has the weight one would think it should have. The film is not exactly boring, but not scary. It's interesting, but not sufficiently intriguing for just a straight science fiction exercise. There's a lot to like, such as the individual moments involving the bird deaths or the kitchen scene, but they are never as tied together as one would like. This is the greatest fault of the movie, never sufficiently delivering on one particular category, be it scares, drama, or straight intrigue.
An overall misfire, but with some good elements.