Dark Skies is an interesting take on a genre that focuses more on slimy creatures that almost always have tentacles and scaly skin. It’s rich in the fact that it has depth to its plot and is simple due to the creature itself, referred to as the Grey’s. Sleek and stealthy, the Grey’s are menacing, but yet still seem to have some deeper meaning to their actions, unlike most horror creatures that just revel in destruction. The story focuses on the Barrett family, a normal group that is very popular in the neighborhood. Suddenly, weird things begin happening at night which results in the mother Lacy (Keri Russell) and father Daniel (Josh Hamilton) to begin unraveling emotionally and physically. Soon enough, it is clear something extraterrestrial is involved and with the help of an expert (J. K. Simmons) they learn their horror has just begun. The plot is interesting and the family as a whole suffers from not only emotional trauma during the alien invasion, but they seem to have a past enveloped in emotional scarring and terror. This gives the viewer an added layer of depth when learning the family and picking which members they love and hate.
While the family as a whole is intriguing, the acting can appear over the top at times. This is especially noticeable when Keri Russell is on screen. Close to the point of humor, she will freak out to the extreme pretty much any second she can. Unlike the two parents, the two children Jesse (Dakota Goyo) and Sammy (Kadan Rockett) seem obvlious to the horror going on, mostly because the aliens have a much more direct influence and hold over the two of them.
With a running time of 97 minutes, this film is a good length but does have some dry spots, especially in the beginning. These boring periods are especially noticeable when the father and mother have one of their many fights or loving moments. As a viewer, I don’t care about them bickering and I especially don’t care about their romantic endeavors. For a horror movie, this film had way too much romance.
If this film was ranked purely on how scary it was it wouldn’t rank very well at all. This isn’t your typical horror in the sense that things are jumping out from corners with creepy faces. This movie takes on a much more cerebral and environmental approach. The normally safe suburban world is falling apart and no matter how many cameras or security systems you have, you simply don’t feel safe. In the real world, this would be terrifying and this movie does an ok job of portraying that to the viewer. The overarching idea that you are no longer in control of your body is also terrifying and this movie does a suburb job of representing this. Still, there is something missing in the fear department, possibly due to the lack of screen time for the Grey’s.
The plot is rich, the setting is fun, but this movie just doesn’t push itself far enough for me. If I had a friend who wanted to watch a horror movie for the first time, this may be something I picked simply because it isn’t too scary and has enough depth to keep the viewer interested. Horror island is receiving the Grey’s, a creature we really don’t know much about. Supremely intelligent, these aliens have the ability to be successful in horror, but I am just not sure if they have the intangibles or desire to take it any further than they already are. I guess the future will show whether or not these aliens have what it takes to really make an impact on an island already full of playmakers.