When writing a review I prefer films that I can say that I clearly like or dislike but so many films fall into a middle range and I don’t have any strong feelings either way. This film is another one of those, with reasonable acting some nice atmospheric directing but it has a poor script and a pretty flat ending.
In a nice normal neighbourhood a nice normal family find themselves at the centre of a series of increasingly disturbing occurrences. This is such a common template for so many modern films and this story never really does anything new with it. The Barrett family are very typical with Daniel (Josh Hamilton) who is an unemployed architect and Lacy (Keri Russell) who works in real estate but is a bit too honest to make a decent living from it. They have two sons, rebellious teenager Jesse (Dakota Goyo) and slightly creepy Sam (Kadan Rockett) who is about six.
The film takes its time before the creepy stuff starts and we get to know the Barretts. Daniel fails another job interview and doesn’t tell Lacy. Money is tight and they are relying on Lacy’s job to support them but she warns clients off buying a run-down property.
Okay onto the creepy stuff and it starts off minor with Lacy waking up and finding a mysterious mess in the kitchen. Then next night Lacy discovers everything in the kitchen in tall stacks of perfectly balanced stuff and there’s a strong similarity to Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist. The police think it’s a prank and suggest they turn on the security system. Jesse claims to know nothing but Sam talks about the sandman. This is the name of a character in a scary story Jesse was reading Sam before he went to sleep. They realise this is the name he’s applied to a strange figure who was in his room.
Daniel switches on the security system before they go to bed the next night and the middle of the night the thing goes off. The security company says they can detect a fault. Lacy goes to check on Sam and in the room she suddenly sees a tall shadowy figure standing in the room next to the boy and she screams. Then Sam and the figure disappear. Daniel spots Sam outside the house in a daze. He runs out and grabs the boy and wakes him up.
Lacy is now convinced and there is something happening to them. Sam has done a crayon drawing of a child with three tall dark figures and it really creeps out Lacy. Then hundreds of birds smash themselves into the house. Lacy does some internet research and comes up with an answer but it takes things getting very serious before Daniel is convinced and they go visit Edwin Pollard (J.K. Simmons) the guy with all the answers in this film.
There isn’t really anything wrong with the film but it is a by-the-numbers collection of common horror tropes and it brings to mind many similar films made recently with this formula including films by the same producers that do it better. It does have a few nice scares and so as long as you don’t expect too much you may enjoy it.
- Rotten Tomatoes
- Jack Bool reviews: Dark Skies (archantnorfolk.wordpress.com)
- Dark Skies (fogsmoviereviews.com)