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“Dark Skies” proves to be a surprisingly thrilling sci-fi film

Keri Russell (left) and Josh Hamilton (front left) with their son (Kadan Rockett) star in the sci-fi horor film, "Dark Skies." (MCT CAMPUS)
Keri Russell (left) and Josh Hamilton (front left) with their son (Kadan Rockett) star in the sci-fi horor film, “Dark Skies.” (MCT CAMPUS)

On Friday nights, movie theatres tend to be packed. I walked out of the blistering cold into the AMC Loews on West 34th Street. I was hoping to see long lines, but I didn’t get to experience that. Instead there were a few couples lingering around the lobby and some people were standing in line waiting to buy tickets. While going up the escalator, I grew very anxious to see “Dark Skies.” It had been a while since I sat down to watch a supernatural movie by myself. Other than that, everything else remained familiar,  like the smell of popcorn filling up the atmosphere.

The film was written and directed by Scott Stewart, and, while the film got a little “Paranormal Activity”-esque for one moment, it was very mysterious and almost original. Real Estate agent Lacey Barrett (Keri Russel) and husband Daniel (Josh Hamilton), laid-off architect, reside in a suburban town with their two sons when disturbances begin to happen around the house. In every scene things get creepier and more dramatic.

It is a family with money troubles, and the first scene the tight-knit family almost falls apart. This disconnect does not last long. As the genre requires, strange things started to happen. Things in the kitchen get rearranged as we see the youngest boy is the chosen one the aliens want to abduct. This is to be expected because it’s from the producer of “Insidious” and “Sinister,” Jason Blum. Now, it is no “Jaws” or anything like that, but the aliens are the thrill throughout the whole movie. They terrorize the family but don’t interfere with anyone else. It was a well written script, and it is recommended if you if you want to be scared and do not wish to see anything with gore and axes.

The strong alien forces almost cripple the bond of the family, but “Dark Skies” received too much attention for it to have such a disappointing ending. After all the suicidal birds, geometric shapes and vanishing photographs something else should be added to the mix.

Increasing the volume to get a reaction from audience members should be considered cheating. While the film will not be nominated for any Oscars it still managed to provide thrills.

“The film hits a freak-out groove in its final third, gaining a steady momentum. Though it is saved in part by the performances of Russell and Hamilton, with a quietly effective supporting turn by J.K. Simmons, the clouded storytelling in ‘Dark Skies’ keeps the film from becoming more than a bunch of disjointed moments,” according to the “Los Angeles Times.” That is a pretty accurate statement.

One thing this film does well is show the family bonds and see them crumble. The suspense and drama going on in the home and between Lacey and Daniel is what really keeps the story interesting, and it blends well with the alien plot destroying everything the family knows. So, if you are a sci-fi movie junkie, this film is highly recommended for you.

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