Most people don’t consider aliens a legitimate element of horror or action, but as science-fiction or comedy. So, when they pop up in a movie, audiences tend to get defensive. Can we accept that there are aliens happening right now? Is their presence making this movie better? In most cases, the answer is no.

Aliens have a bad reputation for not having a good enough reason to exist.  Don’t know where this thing came from?  How about space!

Take Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as case and point. When you mention aliens last minute and are totally serious about it, you better be ready to accept the consequences. Because people don’t like cop-outs, and aliens are an easy cop-out.

Since I know how you think, I’m sure you saw previews for Dark Skies and thought, “Aliens. Meh.” But I’m going to challenge you to give them a chance.

Dark Skies is the story of Lacey (Keri Russell), Daniel (Josh Hamilton) and their two sons, Jesse and Sam.

Nothing seems to be going right for the family, including the fact that strange things happen in their home while they sleep. However, everything gets turned upside down when Lacey suspects that the “Sandman” visiting Sam during the night might actually be real.

Commercials for Dark Skies revealed it was brought to us by the same people who produced the movies Paranormal Activity, Insidious and Sinister, as well as a slew of other horror titles.

PA is one of the largest horror franchises right now, and Insidious and Sinister truly exceeded expectations as horror movies.

Right from the start, it’s clear these people are working with quality scripts.

The movie itself wastes no time in pulling you into the action.

There is no tedious buildup to the first “scare.” Instead, the weird happenings start night one and continue to get worse as the movie continues.

Also, there’s no false pretense that the aliens are anything but the lanky, gray, big-headed creatures you imagine them to be—they’re just aliens.

Dark Skies doesn’t waste time trying to re-invent the wheel, but instead takes time to build an original story on a classic premise.

There are some typical indicators that this is a horror movie:  the occasional jump-scare, playing off of a fear of the dark and sleepwalking. But there is also a strong family element to the story that is refreshing and more genuine than is typical of the genre.

Just in case you thought we were veering too far off the beaten path, there is a “crazy alien expert” thrown into the mix. However, this time he isn’t kooky comedic relief, but more of a serious and legitimately helpful character.

I think the only thing that I got hung up on was how annoying I found their youngest child, but I feel uncomfortable critiquing the acting ability of a kid so I’ll just let that one go.

Dark Skies is a thoroughly enjoyable horror flick that happens to feature aliens. So just put your bias aside and let it probe its way into your brain.


Verdict: B+