Dark Skies

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:37 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Dark Skies
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Kaden Rockett, J.K. Simmons
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Anchor Bay Entertainment & Dimension Films
Blu-ray Release Date: May 28, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Only if you want them to have creepy nightmares about aliens.
Date Movie: She might get scared and snuggly, or give you someone to hold.
Gratuitous Sex: There’s a boob grab and some getting it on, but actually I found it unnecessary.
Gratuitous Violence: Just some fighting, but oddly enough the alien anal probing wasn’t really needed.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: Nope.
Memorable Scene: The end goal of the aliens was a nice twist.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Scott Stewart
Cool Things about the Blu-ray: Nothing much. Standard commentary and deleted scenes, but the alternate ending was a interesting.

As I was getting ready to watch the Blu-ray of “Dark Skies,” I don’t know why but I quickly checked what it was rated. I assumed it would be rated R, it being a scary kind of movie, but alas there it was, the PG-13 rating. Sadly I was instantly disappointed as this meant no quality kills, no gratuitous nudity, not much swearing, and I sunk in my seat for what I figured would be a movie that I might find okay, but would feel it lost a thing or two by not going that extra, rated R step. By the end of the movie, however, I was pleasantly surprised that the movie actually didn’t need that extra adultness, in fact the one thing that seemed oddly out of place for me was Jesse (Dakota Goyo), and his friend, watching some teacher porn (don’t worry, they don’t show much), and then Jesse’s later boob grabbing. Maybe I am getting old, but it seemed contrived and an unnecessary “grab a boob for PG-13 boob’s sake.”

Okay, enough movie ratings analysis, let’s get to the film…

“Dark Skies” gives us a nice suburban family led by Laci (Keri Russell in a role of “How did she end up in this movie, but oddly enough it actually works for this film?”) and Daniel (Josh Hamilton also in a role of “How did he end up in this movie, but oddly enough it actually works for this film?”). They are having money problems with Daniel out of work and Laci struggling selling real estate. They have two boys, the aforementioned Jesse and Sam (Kaden Rockett), the youngest. Things seem pretty normal for the family except for a rash behind Daniel’s ear and Sam having an imaginary friend, but then strange things start happening around the house. There is a mystical stacking of goods, a night when all of the pictures disappear from their frames, and an alarm system that doesn’t seem to work when needed and goes off for no apparent reason. Now I do have to say that as strange things seemed afoot in the Barratt household all I could think about was the Eddie Murphy stand-up skit about haunted houses and families staying in house with unexplained happenings, and some parallels with “Poltergeist” happening, but then the movie started taking odder and odder twists. Weird symbols started showing up on the kid’s bodies, all of the family members started having their own episodes, and in doing some Internet searching Laci discovers that their family might have visitors in the house, namely the alien kind. Yup, it’s creepy, weird, and right up my alley, and a movie that was doing it right by not actually going all of the way with alien ray-guns and spaceships.

So what is a family to do? Well, they search out a trusty, old soul, namely Edwin (J.K. Simmons), who seems to know a thing or two about alien invasions and abductions, and warns the family about what is coming. The family hunkers down to save themselves, only to find they, well, I’ll leave that alone for the ending.

And so, “Dark Skies” gives us a movie that is part “Poltergeist,” part “Signs,” and all kinds of creepy. It does a great job at keeping the suspense, the talent of Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton are needed for the roles of showing a family that is starting to fall apart due to money problems, yet their love is still holding them together. Heck, even without the alien abduction creepiness, Keri and Josh portrayed a movie that could have stood out on its own as a family in turmoil kind of film. Like I mentioned before, however, and I understand the need for showing Jesse’s insecurity in growing up in the movie, but the teacher porn and boob grab really seemed like a lazy and gratuitous way of doing it. Yes, I know teenage boys look at porn, but it just seemed cheesy.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised by “Dark Skies” with all of its alien creepiness and the fact that they actually didn’t take the movie to the R-rated level. The movie-folks kept the aliens mysterious, even to the end, and kept the focus of the movie on the family which is what I think helped it not end up just being a dorky, alien abduction film.

Good acting, a nice look at a family with growing pains, and alien creepiness to boot. It’s 4 stars out of 5 for “Dark Skies” from me, and if I ever get a rash behind my ear I’m going to question things a little more.

In regards to the extras on the Blu-ray, there isn’t that much, mostly just the standard commentary track and some deleted scenes that were fine being deleted. The alternate ending was a nice touch, though, and seeing how things progress to how they eventually ended the film.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!