johnlink ranks DARK SKIES (2013)

When you say something is brought to you buy the guy who made LEGION and PRIEST you aren’t exactly starting off on the right foot. Fortunately, I didn’t know that going in or I may have avoided DARK SKIES altogether.


I watched DARK SKIES (2013) on 4.21.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

Parents Lacy and Daniel Barrett (Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton) are having trouble. She’s not selling much as a real estate agent, and he’s not working after getting laid off. Their young boys Jesse and Sam (Dakota Goyo and Kadan Rockett) are good enough kids, even if Jesse is experimenting with the sort of things that adolescent boys do.

They don’t have an easy life, but they are happy if stressed. That is, until, it becomes apparent that they are being regularly visited by aliens. When they learn (from J. Jonah Jameson) that the visitation means someone may soon be taken they try to fight back even as their lives are unraveling quickly.

This is an alien movie. Some opinions out there don’t like the fact that the movie starts with an Arthur C. Clarke quote alluding to as much and then the movie takes 40 minutes to get to the aliens. On the other hand, there has been no movie in the last couple decades which has successfully pulled off the big reveal being aliens. It has become a cliche for a surprise to be aliens (I’m looking at you, KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL). Telling us outright that we are going to meet aliens doesn’t bother me. Sure they could maybe have gotten there ten minutes earlier, but I won’t begrudge a movie for attempting some character development.

One of those characters, though, does suck. Fortunately, that character is Jesse’s ‘friend’ and not someone in the family. Even if that character ruins most every scene they are in (especially in attempting to show ‘truly’ how young boys watch porn and talk about sex), DARK SKIES doesn’t suffer because it mostly focuses on the family.

This is a film which is creepy. It has a couple of jumps, but mostly gets by on atmosphere. It manages to succeed on this level for the most part, even if some of the right-wing paranoia derails the movie at specific moments (ie, the American flag waving on the TV as the, ahem, aliens try to take over the home with only the homeowner’s gun to protect him… but I digress).

The ending of this movie will surprise for its boldness, if not for its content. This is not a soft movie, despite its PG-13 rating. It is a film which loves to subtly tweak its characters to the point of breaking down. The epilogue may feel like the tone is not right, or like the film took to long of a chronological break between its penultimate scene and its last one. But it’s earned it by then. This is not a spectacular science fiction movie, but it is most definitely a serviceable one.



The score is really haunting with this one. It is workmanlike, but it does the job very well.


FINAL SCORE: 6.5 out of 10



~ by johnlink00 on April 23, 2014.

4 Responses to “johnlink ranks DARK SKIES (2013)”

  1. Remember watching this around some time last year and not hating it as much as I felt like I was. Mainly has to do with the fact that I actually cared about this family, their problems and whether or not they were going to be alive by the end of this. Sure, it was stupid, but at least I cared. Good review John.

  2. Yeah man, the family made this movie work. I cared during it and thought about the stupidity afterwards. That makes for an entertaining movie at least.

  3. I was really surprised by this one. Thought it was really quite impressive and I was quite freaked out by it. For me, it was one of the scarier horror films of recent times. Keri Russell is really good.

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