Starring Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton. Rated 14A. Now playing.
The makers of Dark Skies used a quote from legendary sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke to open their new alien-abduction thriller. It reads: "Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."
Oh really? Isn't the possibility that we are alone in the universe a lot more terrifying than the possibility that we aren't? I mean, who's gonna zoom in in supercool spaceships and save the world when the ice caps finally melt away and stuff?
Whether you believe we're alone or not, though, here's something you cannot doubt: any quote that uses the adjective "terrifying" doesn't belong within a billion light years of a lame-ass flick like Dark Skies.
Written and directed by Scott Stewart—whose previous films include the overblown biblical action-horror flicks Legion and Priest—Dark Skies stars Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton as married couple Lacy and Daniel Barrett, who are living a normal suburban life with their kids Sam and Jesse (Kadan Rockett and Dakota Goyo). Times are tight financially—architect Daniel can't find a job and the mortage is overdue—but apart from the fact that they might need to cancel the cable, they manage to scrape by on Lacy's real-estate sales.
Budgetary worries start taking a backseat to home-safety concerns when Lacy wakes up in the middle of the night to find that the fridge has been ransacked and the groceries strewn all over the kitchen floor. "What kind of animal eats the lettuce and leaves the bacon?," she ponders, while Daniel decides that the money saved by cancelling the alarm-monitoring service wasn't really worth it.
More bizarre, Poltergeist-type incidents keep occuring at the Barrett house, but rarely in a way that gets the viewer involved. One memorable moment occurs when a bird flies into a bedroom window, spatters blood on the glass, then dies on the roof. That's quite effective. But then hundreds more birds are shown plastering the entire house. That's overkill.
After Lacy googles "mass bird deaths" she comes across a lowkey alien expert (J.K. Simmons) who tediously informs the stressed-out parents that "the invasion already happened", that they've been implanted with microchips, and that they can expect the imminent extraterrestrial abduction of a family member. Kicked into survival mode, Daniel buys a shotgun, Lacy arms herself with a butcher knife, and the stage is set for a Fourth of July showdown that is ridiculous enough to keep even the most ardent pro-alien believers from ever bothering to watch the skies again.