Is it aliens, a poltergeist, a demon perhaps?
If you want to figure out the answer by watching the film, avoid the trailers. I’m getting more and more pissed off at trailers for movies these days. I fail to understand how the production team behind them can’t hold back and save some twists for the audience. Is there a need for trailers to run over 2 minutes and spoil every scary scene and surprise? (Okay, I’m taking a deep breath now, then I’m cracking open a bottle of wine. Tis Friday evening, after all).
Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton are a young couple with two kids struggling to make the mortgage payments on their home in a beautiful, middle class suburban neighbourhood. Dad is unemployed and Mom’s ability to sell rental homes isn’t going too well, especially when she tells potential clients they can do better elsewhere. They have two young sons who do their best to ignore the voices of their arguing parents seeping through their bedroom walls. All very normal family problems so far.
Until Keri comes downstairs one night to find the fridge open, food all over the kitchen floor and the back door open. They write it off as an animal. Solution? Make sure all the doors and windows are locked. The next night, Keri walks into the kitchen and stops short. Every item of food has been stacked in a weird geometric shape. We’ve entered Paranormal Activity territory, is what I thought at that point. The disturbances get worse as the days and nights go on. The youngest son, in particular, seems to be affected. I’ll stop there as I don’t want to spoil the rest of the film.
I liked the family. Keri Russell has always exuded sincerity in the roles she’s played. I wanted Keri and her family to make it through the nightmare. One of my favourite scenes was when they visited an expert (J.K. Simmons) in his dingy apartment hoping for answers and help to put the ordeal behind them. He puts them through a test first to rule them out as crazies. At that moment, I felt like I was watching an old episode of The X-Files – I got the chills and goosebumps I’ve long missed from Mulder and Scully’s early days. On more than a few occasions, Dark Skies reminded me of the alien invasion film, Signs. Probably because Dark Skies focuses on family, showing them banding together and later protecting their home.
Why Keri continued to walk around the house at night in the dark, I could never figure out. I had the same question for Ethan Hawke while watching Sinister. “Turn on the bloody light,” I once again found myself shouting at the screen.
Dark Skies wasn’t brilliant – in fact it seems to be getting fairly mediocre reviews, but I really liked it. I’d sum it up as an old fashioned scary film with a sci-fi edge. ****
Has anyone seen this? TGIF and have a great weekend.