Feb. 27, 2013 - Issue #906: Tegan and Sara - Pop goes their world
Lacy and Daniel Barrett (Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton), a real-estate agent and an architect, live in the 'burbs with their sons, teen Jesse (Dakota Goyo) and young Sam (Kadan Rockett). And now you're expecting "But then one day strange things start happening," etc. There's that, and the 'hood is too much a picket fence and flag-waving slice-of-American-whitebread, too, but the Barretts are struggling to hold onto their house. In financial-crisis California, she's a home-seller (of mortgage-defaulted property) and he's an out-of-work building-designer ... soon to face home invasion and supernatural (re)possession.
As uncanny events—a raided fridge; a strange sculpture of containers; flocks of starlings smashing into their house; all family photos gone from their frames—escalate around them, the boys are suspected, then the parents eyed suspiciously by friends and neighbours, and family tensions flare. When the parents turn to an alien-expert (JK Simmons), he's no tech-outfitted investigator but a pallid, apartment-dwelling man, made weary by his first-hand knowledge of the truth.
What lets the film down is its visual sense—not so much its glimmers of cheap production-values as its insistent close-ups. Some are effective as reaction shots and for building suspense, but they become Stewart's crutch. It's tempting to imagine what a better director—Donnie Darko-era Richard Kelly, for example—could do with medium shots and off-kilter angles, especially since the penultimate sequence depends on a surreal shift-of-scene that should be much more cinematic than it is. Still, as TV-movie as it can be at times, Dark Skies has some story savvy to it, even ending on an ominous note, refusing to part its plot's long-building storm-clouds.
Opens Now playing
Directed by: Scott Stewart
Vue respects your privacy. We will not forward your personal information to any other organization except as required by law, and will use your e-mail address only to respond to your comments. We reserve the right to edit and remove comments for length, clarity and/or if they are illegal or inappropriate. Your email address is never shown to visitors to vueweekly.com. Read the whole policy at: http://vueweekly.com/privacy