All Isn’t Right With The Family in Dark Skies

This film looks at all the complexities an urban Middle American style family has to deal with in trying to survive in a depressive economic age.

Ed Sum

Dark Skies PosterEither the Barrett family is haunted or the house they are living in is a beacon for entities to come flocking to in Dark Skies. The movie trailer suggests a problem at this home when three different flocks of birds decide to come crashing here. This film looks at all the complexities an urban Middle American style family has to deal with in trying to survive in a depressive economic age.

The father Daniel (Josh Hamilton) is struggling to pay the bills and the mother Lacy (Keri Russell) is fighting to keep the family unit stable. They have two children, a teenage Jesse (Dakota Goyo), who is just discovering independence and girls, and a young Sam (Kadan Rockett), fearful of the Sandman stealing another’s vision.

If only audiences could come in fresh with no knowledge of what this movie is about, then some might think this film is about a haunted house. The tension nicely builds to suggest that, but most viewers will realize that this film is about some other kind of invisible stalker. Either writer/director Scott Stewart is taking ideas from M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs and Stephen Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, or he expanding the idea that there are other kinds of invisible entities that are living amongst us.

And there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Once when an individual has been chosen, what can people do about it? This movie is smart to not suggest UFOs or alien abduction, but that is the premise of this film in a nutshell. It’s an average thrill-ride to show events as they unfold. Stewart is good to create some misdirection, but for viewers really paying attention to the dialogue, they will know that the story is given away by the time Edwin Pollard (J.K. Simmons) enters the scene. He is the only good reason to see this film and his character explains where this movie will go from that point on. The remainder of the film becomes all too predictable. It’s like watching a Shyamalan product being tossed into a blender.

This movie can even be considered gentle horror. The message it delivers is as chilling as the prophecy: once when a victim has been chosen, there is no escaping destiny. Just waiting for this film to get there is the problem.