Aliens have long fascinated mankind, perhaps even as far back as cavemen. The stars and the potential stories they hold have been fodder for many films since film began and it shows no signs of slowing down. From the heyday of 1950’s invasion flicks to Close Encounters of the Third Kind to War of the Worlds, Fire in the Sky, Communion and most recently, The Fourth Kind, the tales of little grey men seem to never diminish.
Lacy and Daniel Bennett (Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton) are the parents of young Jesse and Sam (Dakota Goyo, Kadan Rockett). Times are tough for the family as Daniel is an out of work architect and Lacy is a real estate agent in a housing slump. To add to their difficulties, strange happenings have been occurring. Three separate flocks of birds fly into their house. Sam, their youngest has been having blackouts and sleepwalking. Daniel has a strange rash behind his ear and Lacy is seeing strange things inside the house. Lacy’s suspicions lead her to believe that something otherworldly may be targeting her family but to what end? Desperate, they consult an expert (J.K. Simmons) to find out once and for all what the sinister purpose of the mysterious visitors might be.
Dark Skies takes a rather unique approach to the alien abduction genre. It takes its cues from more of the horror/home invasion genre and sets it up that way, and to great effect. As things get weirder and weirder for the family, we are witness to their entire life being turned inside out and upside down, yet we are never sure of the intentions of whatever force is messing with them. It makes for some very tense scenes and some great pacing. Performances are great all around, especially from Russell and Dakota Goyo as Jesse, the older of the two boys. Jesse is going through his own issues with discovering girls and dealing with an older and more troublesome friend. Add to all of that what his family is dealing with and the ramifications the visits have on their lives and you get a pretty compelling story. The effects are understated and very effective as well, taking cues from the recent Paranormal Activity films and their less is more formula. As a whole Dark Skies is a briskly paces, well thought out and interesting take on the alien visitors’ template.
The Blu-ray from eOne is very nice looking, especially considering the amount of night scenes. Black levels are solid throughout, colors are nice and natural and clarity and detail are excellent. The sound field is impressive here as well with nice atmospherics that enhance the experience.
Available May 28, 2013 on Blu-ray and DVD.