Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dark Skies

Rated PG-13

DIRECTOR / WRITER: Scott Stewart

STARRING: Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Kaden Rockett, J.K. Simmons



Felicity has grown up, become a real-estate agent and lives in an a-typical le blanc de skin California suburban neighborhood with her ball and chain and two little cusses (Dakota Goyo & Kadan Rockett). Her husband (Josh Hamilton) is out of work and the family is grippin' hard on some first world problems. But what's this? Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.. err, in the home. Totes McGoats. What or who is the cause of these wackadoo antics and do they use gloves when twiddle-dippin' your starfish?

The ads looked decent. I'm always up for a possible close encounter of the third kind. Fire In The Sky made me wear a tin foil hat when I was a kid, can you relate? Horror flicks with a dash of science-fiction or vice versa is a fave sub-genre of mine. John Carpenter's The Thing is fucking cinematic fucking genius but I'm getting sidetracked. I haven't seen a good Sci-Fi spookfest in a dick year, so I was minor stoked to see this. Also, Signs was hella fuckin' rad and if you aren't on board with that, well.. that's just like your opinion, man. So, did Dark Skies try to abduct the awesomeness or did I get beamed into T'Pol's quarters for a skimpy clothed Vulcan neuropressure session?

Far out, hosers. Dark Skies is pretty decent. The flick does take awhile to get you in the mix. It's a slow burn but not really a burn. It's a slow sizzle. Dark Skies doesn't suffer from wonky dialogue or any of the normal issues that can come along with films of it's kind. Scott Stewart does a solid job directing, the cinematography is spot on and I was mass pleased about the quality level. The plot and pacing cruises right along and although it took a hot minute for me to get engaged in the flick, at no time was I bored.  

I'm gonna' whinge for a sec about the vanilla look of the family's joint. The spot had no character, almost to the point of being clinical in some places. The set design and art direction were tuff every where else, so this was more of just a poor choice. There's an alternate 70's style house that's used for some scenes and even though that pad was pretty bare (it was a home for sale that Keri Russell's character was the agent for), it was sportin' a fuckton more character than the Barrett Fam's home. This blows because the Barret casa is where the film spends a lot of time. I get what they were going for but the model house ambiance just didn't fit the family. This aspect actually took me out of the movie a scoshe because it felt awkward to be so whitewashed in the deco. The actors gave their characters personality, so their home should have reflected it. You might be thinking I need to take a red here but the surroundings (set design, art direction) really affect the vibe of the film and Dark Skies lacked a sufficient tension big time. The art design in the home helped destroy any suspense that was created in other ways. 

The actors all turned in solid performances. The dialogue was awesome, especially between the two brothers. Kadan and Dakota did a fantastic job in their roles and built a very strong bro bond. "Lunar Base to Command Control, over." For serious. Keri Russell was good but I kind of wished her character had a little more personality. Not sure that has much to do with the actress as it was clear the filmmakers wanted to tow the vanilla fam routine. But no hassling her, Russell is on point with delivering the performance. Ditto for Josh Hamilton. He had more meat to chew on in Dark Skies though, so his character comes off as more layered and fershure dealing with some straight up dichotomy. Got popped in the ocular as well, but lucky dude, no eye-jammy. 

Dark Skies takes the less is more approach and you goobers know I have two fuckin' tickets to that ride. Especially in horror the slow burn and less is more is nearly a guarantee a film will actually build tension. But it has to pay off in the scare department. This flick didn't blow my skirt up per say but it did enough right to buy me breakfast. I'm not recommending you drop your shit right now and hit the theatre on this but I'm not going to curb this film either. If you are way into the whole alien abduction slow burn vibe, I'd say scope it out. It's pretty tight but it's not really the tits.

Lacked sufficient vibage. May I have a side order of tension please?

I don't remember the score. Prolly' not a good thing. 

Set design and art direction on the Barrett family home had zero personality. Fuckin' brunie unsalted cracker shenaynays.

I'm calling Dark Skies the fuck out on the fucking CGI eyeless gag. Applicable effects. Look it up, sons of bitches. Fuck. It would have looked so much creepier. If I was a CGI bountyhunter, I would spinning heel kick you in the bag, rip your throat out Roadhouse-style and toss your body in a piss river.

J fuckin' K fuckin Simmons y'all. Took a very important character with not much screen time and nailed that shit. Matter of factolas, if this character didn't deliver, Dark Skies would have fell flatter than a week old rootbeer in the back of the fridge. Simmons dropped some gravitas on us. Dig it, Brohiminy Cricket.

Ambiguity and the less is more path is employed to great effect here.

There's a little spot that happens during the fade out. Boom. Crucial.

There's an honesty in the delivery of both the way the actors portray their characters and in the writing. I'd add the direction in that mix as well. When the sitch finally gets full on kirked out, you're there specifically because the build satisfied the factors.

Rash! A rash! There's an eye gag where they should have taze-shocked us in the taint. Not much goo here. Dark Skies is more about suspense building. Gore isn't needed here. 

Dark Skies is above average. Truthfairy. It's solid on quality, story, dialogue, cinematography, etc and does a damn good job using ambiguity, holding just enough back on screen, to build some decent tension. I can bitch about a couple of aspects that I feel undermined the suspense of this film. I was never wigged out enough to start searching my body for implants and run screaming into an underground bunker when I saw bright lights. Dark Skies does a great job staying grounded in reality and it was ace how the premise of the film is treated with believable levity. The acting was dead on as well. So, okay, Dark Skies didn't beam me into T'Pols quarters (when this happens, the review will look like this: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) but I did think this flick was minor gnarly. I recommend hitting the cinema to the genre fans. Otherwise, grab it when it hits Blu. Bag your face with a dumptruck!

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