“Dark Skies” is the latest effort from Scott Stewart, the director of “Legion” and “Priest.” Although these films aren’t popular with most moviegoers, I thought they were extremely enjoyable albeit deeply flawed action flicks. Stewart has a knack for comic book-style theatrics, which makes his latest endeavor a little underwhelming.
I’m not necessarily saying that “Dark Skies” is a bad movie. In fact, some might say it’s his best big screen effort to-date. However, as someone who spends a great deal of time watching bloody action films featuring monsters and demons, the lack of on-screen mayhem was definitely a disappointment. Had the script been produced for something like “The Twilight Zone” or “The Outer Limits,” it may worked a bit better.
Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton star as an Arizona couple who have reached a very difficult point in their lives. Raising their two kids proves difficult since dad is out of work and mom is a less-than-successful real estate agent. To make matters worse, something strange seems to be happening inside their home. Before long, the entire family is experiencing seizures and strange nightmares involving someone the son calls “The Sandman.”
Despite the somewhat predictable nature of the story and the lackluster finale, “Dark Skies” has a few good things going for it. In addition to a few unexpected scares, the film sports a very talented group of players. Russell and Hamilton turn in decent performances, as does the always enjoyable J.K. Simmons. However, the characters are thin and the subplots are unnecessary, which often make the film feel a little longer than it really is.
Although the story may have its problems, “Dark Skies” looks particularly spectacular on Blu-ray. Say what you will about Stewart’s movies, but his work always looks great in high definition. The picture quality is crisp and clean, particularly during the nighttime sequences. The sound is also quite good; the loseless 5.1 soundtrack contributes greatly the film’s overall atmosphere. While the presentation couldn’t be sharper, the extras leave something to be desired. A commentary, some deleted scenes, and an alternate ending are all you’re going to get.
Scott Stewart’s “Dark Skies” is a decent “Poltergeist” knock-off that manages to entertain despite the problems working against it. The somewhat generic nature of the story will leave viewers wanting more, but Stewart’s knack for visuals and a few impressive shocks keep the flick from being completely unwatchable. As someone who appreciated “Legion” and “Priest” for what they were, “Dark Skies” was a bit disappointing. It’s a slow burn all the way through, and the ending isn’t worth the wait. Good for a rental, but I doubt you’ll want to own it.
Scott Stewart (director) / Scott Stewart (screenplay)
CAST: Keri Russell … Lacy Barrett
Josh Hamilton … Daniel Barrett
Dakota Goyo … Jesse Barrett
Kadan Rockett … Sam Barrett
J.K. Simmons … Edwin Pollard