Dark Skies is a new science fiction thriller directed by Scott Stewart starring Keri Russell who appeared in Mission Impossible III and August Rush. Keri Russell plays Lacy Barrett a wife to Daniel Barrett (played by Josh Hamilton) and also a mother to two children Jesse and Sam. The family live in a nice suburban American town where nothing much out of the ordinary usually happens. One day however strange events do start to occur such as the burglar alarm going off for no reason and the children start to talk of a strange boogeyman known as The Sandman who moves objects around in the kitchen. Birds also begin flocking towards the house and crashing into the windows. The weird events escalate and get worse as the family also start to act strangely and appear almost possessed at times. The Barretts are understandably worried and disturbed by what has transpired so they call in an expert called Edwin Pollard (played by J.K. Simmons) to shed some light on the issue. Pollard seems to know his stuff and he tells the family that alien intruders may be responsible for the reign of terror. He also informs the family the aliens may attempt to abduct them which sends them into panic mode as they try to find a way to escape this fate.
The plot in Dark Skies appears to be standard science fiction fare and very similar to a TV series that was released years ago with the same name. The film will not win any awards for originality and looks on paper like a routine, average sci-fi thriller that doesn’t really stand out. There have been so many films about alien abduction over the years and few add anything new or creative to the formula. Sometimes writers have difficulty finding new ways to tell an old story.
The trailer itself does have some merit though as the Barretts look like a nice family and the kind of characters the audience would root for. Keri Russell was very good as Special Agent Lindsey Farris in Mission Impossible III , a small role with big impact. She also looks good here as Ma Barrett and the supporting cast seem convincing in their roles too. J.K Simmons is well known for his roles as J.Jonah Jameson the newspaper editor for the Daily Bugle in Sam Raimi’s Spider-man movies and also his role in the Coen brothers comedy Burn After Reading. It makes a change to see him playing a serious character in this movie. The trailer also has some suspense and is a little creepy. If the director can maintain the tension and atmosphere then Dark Skies may yet strike a cord with fans of the genre. The aliens themselves are not shown much in the trailer either which also adds to the suspense. It is also an effective way to hide mediocre special effects or unimaginative creature design although it’s not clear if that is the case with this movie.
Scott Stewart is an interesting director and he seems to like movies with a fantasy or science fiction angle. Two of his earlier movies Priest and Legion had good casts and some nice ideas but both failed to captivate audiences at the cinema. Time will tell whether or not he will have more success with Dark Skies. He has also done a fair bit of visual effects work for movies like Iron Man and Pirates of the Caribbean so Dark Skies should have some decent CGI depending on the budget and creativity of the crew.
Young movie goers seem to have an insatiable appetite for creepy films with aliens and ghosts so the film may catch on at the cinema if it is not drowned out by bigger releases.
Dark Skies is released on April 5th. Have a look at the trailer and let us know what you think.