A sci-fi horror with a few decent scares is let down by derivative plotting
Having previously bombarded us with (post-)apocalyptic scenarios in Doomsday, Legion and Priest, writer-director Scott Stewart now takes on the alien visitation genre with marginally more satisfying results. While Dark Skies exercises more restraint and employs a little more intelligence than his previous efforts, it also abducts one too many ideas from better genre entries and struggles to impress on its own merits.
Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton take centre-stage as a mother and father who discover strange things going on in their house. At first, events are confined to things being mysteriously moved around but when their youngest son (Kadan Rockett) claims to have been visited by 'The Sandman', and their eldest (Dakota Goyo) also begins to act strangely, they begin to suspect there are extra terrestrial forces at work.
Stewart’s film has a certain amount of fun making audiences jump with a series of rapidly staged and well executed set pieces, while also dipping its toe into social commentary and coming-of-age elements. But the film’s overall effectiveness is somewhat negated by just how derivative the whole thing is with the likes of Close Encounters of The Third Kind, Signs and Paranormal Activity all being borrowed from at some point.
Taken on its own limited terms, Dark Skies engages while it lasts but misses the opportunity to really bring something worthwhile and different to the genre.
General release from Wed 3 Apr.