Now and then a movie comes along that looks like that one with that guy and the girl with the thing that happened before, you know the one, it's been done half a dozen times and only a few glimmering moments shine through.
Well, before I say "Here we go again..." I'll say this. The science fiction horror genre has had some great, great moments and I'm positive that there are more to come, however, until that time when we're wowed the world over by a cinematic experience with the impact of 'Alien' or 'The Thing' of John Carpenter fame, or the creepy 'Communion' and 'Fire In The Sky' there are little gems like Scott Stewarts latest offering 'Dark Skies'.
Note to the reader: Not to be confused with the 1996 television show of the same title which also centred around similar themes. 'Dark Skies' (2013) does not share any correlation in terms of characters, cast or production.
Essentially it's a story of a young suburban family, the same as any other with all of the concerns that surround us in these darker days of the 21st century. When odd happenings begin to disturb their otherwise peaceful lives it isn't long before a menacing out of this world force presents them with a devastating reality - we are not alone and, moreover, they're not leaving without one of the family in tow.
Visually the movie doesn't push too many new buttons, there are no real shining wow moments for the most part but that's okay, because the whole feel of the environments and the cast is to give that sense of comfort and homeliness that we all find so reassuring. The characters are well rounded, there are a number of neat little build ups with embellishments to the history of the family that give insight to nature of the problem that they're facing.
With a strong female lead, Lacy Barrett (Keri Russell) we see a working mother desperate to understand what she and her family are up against while no-nonsense, out of work husband, Daniel, played by Josh Hamilton, fights his own conscience whilst trying to keep his family afloat financially.
Daniel believes that the intrusions into their home are malicious pranks perpetrated by very human culprits, only to arrive at the startling realisation that the problem is far from terrestrial. With dwindling funds they install a home security camera system in hopes of catching the person, or persons, responsible amid their youngest son's claims of a mysterious force being present in the house. This "found footage" style insert is predictable, becoming dated as a narrative technique but as the film doesn't centre around this element it doesn't negatively impact on the main event but does act as a catalyst to help drive the plot forward.
Ultimately we discover that an extraterrestrial force has been visiting the family for quite some time and that they are one of many families affected by these off-world invaders.
Suffice to say 'Dark Skies' holds its own with a few forgivable areas of rushed plot and flowery fillers but essentially it's an entirely enjoyable, if not slightly subdued, science-fiction thriller. The story cashes in on the paranoid fears of the conspiracy community drawing on elements of alien/human interaction, abduction, surgical implantation and manipulation beyond the control of the individual which makes for a great break from reality and an uneasy night of watching the corners of your room for any growing shadows.
If you liked 'Signs', 'Communion' and the fore mentioned 'Fire In The Sky' then this should tickle your fancy.
It's not quite out of this world but all the same, you'll experience a little missing time of your own, 97 minutes to be exact!
Reviewed by Scott Wigglesworth