d a r k s k i e s
3rd April 2013
7th April 2013
It would appear that aliens have buried the hatchet with Apple. Either that or they have very short memories. It can’t be that long ago that a Mac was used to down the big alien spaceship in Independence Day with a suspicious amount of compatibility with alien technology. So presumably they've come to some sort of compensation deal. You see, Dark Skies is very much sponsored by Apple. Apple laptops, Apple computers, Apple phones and even a very conspicuous Apple mouse. Which I still can’t get on with as well as a mouse with two buttons.
To rewind a little, Dark Skies is the latest from the producers of the seemingly endless Paranormal Activity franchise and once again tells the tale of an ordinary family terrorised by anything but ordinary forces. The only real change here is that the forces this time are from another world rather than another dimension. Otherwise it’s things going bump in the night and then in the day (!) as per previous.
Having set this up for a rant, I really didn’t dislike Dark Skies that much. It does try hard to escape its genre conventions. It sets about showing actual characters that we do know, rather than cardboard cut-outs and it should be applauded for weaving in day to day tensions with the supernatural tensions. The problem is, we’ve still seen it all before so the time it takes to deal with these things just takes all of the pace out of the film. And it is so formulaic, you could sit with a check-list from the first Paranormal Activity and just go train-spotter nuts on it. Honestly, everything they have / do in that film, is eventually done / had in this one. Right down to the video cameras (connected to the family iMac!) and a dog. Although the dog vanishes with no apparent explanation.
There are two and a half really good jumps mixed in with all this but once you’ve seen one person slowly approach a stationary figure from behind only to turn them around AND... no, I won’t spoil it for you. Suffice to say it happens a little too often.
I think I went into this film expecting it to be terrible, only to discover that it’s just completely uninspired and generally average. If this movie was a courier, you’d be happy to give it your best china. There is just nothing new here. Even the aliens look tired. As if they just got done filming on the X-Files and this was one job too far for them. In fact, the X-Files would probably reject this script as being too ordinary.
And that’s the issue. The film is pedestrian. It has decent characters and it’s well acted but there is nothing exceptional to recommend it. If it has come out ten years ago, it may have got more attention but as it is, it’s too late, too slow and not scary enough.