“Once you’ve been chosen, you belong to them”.
You see, initially billed and marketed as a sci-fi horror film, there are some meatier and more timely issues being explored in Dark Skies; ones that extend far beyond the whole alien invasion abduction milieu.
In the wake of the financial collapse, Daniel Barrett (Josh Hamilton) has lost his job as a designer and even though his wife, Lacy (Keri Russell), is a Realtor, times are tough and the couple is falling behind on their bills. Obsessed with keeping up with appearances, Daniel struggles to find a job and actively hides the fact that they are more than 90 days late on their mortgage payment (to the tune of $9000+).
Dark Skies explores the effect this has on the relationship between the husband and wife, how that strain affects their children, and what happens to a family already in crisis when a series of inexplicable events begins to unfold around them. Stewart continues to pile on the challenges and difficulties faced by the Barrett’s until the family must choose to either succumb to the external pressures or pull together in an effort to survive. The resulting empathy the audience feels toward the family only helps to heighten the tension and subsequent terror felt.
These themes, which are not exploited in the Dark Sky trailer (and honestly, why would they be?), broaden the potential audience to just about anyone currently feeling the effects of our current economic climate. These themes also reveal the truth behind Dark Skies. The film you’re watching is not a non-stop thrill ride that will leave you completely and utterly floored with fear.
It’s a family drama.
Although it’s true the underlying crisis faced by the Barrett family centers around possible extraterrestrial and malicious interest in their goings-on, without the emotional angle Dark Skies would be just another in a long line of schlocky sci-fi alien flicks that try hard to bring the scares but ultimately disappoint.
There are some legitimate, if not safe, thrills to be had in Dark Skies, making the movie a perfect flick for family movie night.
Official site: Dark Skies
Official Instagram: Dark Skies
Related: FEARnet review of Dark Skies