UMP Review – Dark Skies

An indie horror thatcould easily join the classics like Insidious thanks to its cinematography and scaries.


Despite my depraved love towards horror movies, there is hardly a bunch of movies each year in this genre, which are admirable – or, at least, entertaining. Hence, with much appreciation was I watching “Dark Skies”. Story is as old as the hills and inexorably reminisces defamed M.Nigh Shyamalan’s almost-classic “Signs”, but it touches more than just the surface of the problem. More than co-existence of other forms of life in the neighbourhood, the director is interested in determining the actual line between madness and belief.

Life of an ordinary family changes rapidly when a series of dreadful events haunt their peace. Lacy (Keri Russell) and Daniel (Josh Hamilton) will have to do their utmost to protect their sons from unknown forces, which invaded their home.

Don’t expect “Dark Skies” to scare you to death in a split of a second – the reason for its distinctiveness from other horror movies, is the decendant narrative manner. Scott Stewart, the director of “Dark Skies” takes his time to dwell into a mysterious haze of disturbing, undefined events and a decadent nature of unstoppable force invading Lacy and Daniel. Even after half of the length of the film, we are not given many hints as where to allocate this strange entities.

There are only few moments, when we can actually get a bit spooked, and that is a major drawback of Stewart’s flick.  “Dark Skies” is dense, suspensful, but lacks this mettlesome fraction, which would spice it up and turn into a full-bodied horror movie. it definitely goes into more of “Babadook” direction, than “Paranormal Activity” one. Anyway, Stewart was also able to properly make use of actors he had on set – it’s not the oh-****-I’m-scared acting type, with one facial expression (eyes and mouth wideo open), but something a little bit more ambitious and spunky.

I’m not claiming, that ‘Dark Skies” is a masterpiece. The cinematography by David Boyd is not Roger Deakins’ league, the shots are quite ordinary, whilst the design of special effects also leaves some discontent – especially bearing in mind how horror movies can be really artistically amazing (“Insidious”). Anyhow, Scott Stewart managed to extract something  special from this purely plain plot, making it confusing, but at the same time gripping in its own way. The family’s slowly happening breakdown and evolving paranoia is confined within the walls of their house – although the neighbors also see the strange events, it’s the shattered family bonds, which attract the attention of Stewart.

Finally, “Dark Skies” provides you with an unforeseen ending, which not only gives hope for continuing the film in a sequel, but also satisfies in terms of overall effect. I personally like to be shocked in the end and hate the moment, when I can say “I knew it”. Suprisingly, I didn’t come up with this ending.

UMP Grade: 33.5/50

Cinematography: 6.5, Plot: 7, Acting: 7, Soundtrack: 6, Quaintness: 7

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