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Dark Skies (2013) Review

My first thought on leaving the theater after viewing Dark Skies. “Aliens are bad and they should feel bad.”

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My second: Is Dark Skies a UFO conspiracy theory film that really wants to be a supernatural horror one… or the other way around? Not the worst quandary to have in the movie world, except when it becomes painfully clear that we’ve seen this film already in near identical fashion many times over — only with different placeholders.


Not that director Scott Stewart, whose filmography includes the immemorable Legion and Priest is to blame; he puts up his best effort yet. The film features good enough performances from Kerri Russell (Lacy Barrett) and Josh Hamilton (Daniel Barrett) as dilemma-laden parents in a household about to be met by plenty more, jarring visuals, solid build-up and a cleverly subdued stance on alien invasion.

Aside from these few moments of alien related nuance though, there isn’t much to differentiate this film from the slew of horror ones out of the past half-decade; even if they’re the same producers — it’s almost as if the makers of Dark Skies took a checklist of what people really liked in Paranormal Activity and Insidious (right down to the monitoring of security cam footage in the morning, little kids who have been talking to the monsters behind their parents’ backs, and ominous crayon drawings), then interjected aliens instead of ghosts. Hell, maybe it’s extraneous material from those previous efforts they didn’t want to see go to waste. Movies, Hollywood, business… I know. But still, it left me disappointed knowing Dark Skies could have been more than Insidious: Alien Edition.



  • Jarring visuals and soundtrack
  • Creepy-ass aliens
  • Same old horror movie tropes, only this time… aliens!

The Verdict:

Looking for decent scares, eerie amusement and some creepy-ass aliens? Dark Skies has them. If you’re craving something distinctive from the same old tropes you’ve seen countless times before though, don’t reach for these skies.

DARK SKIES. Starring Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, J.K. Simmons. Rated PG-13, 1 hr. 35 min. Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Horror. Written and Directed By: Scott Stewart.

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