Dark Skies (Blu-ray)

May 31, 2013 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I’m not sure what it is about us as people and our weird fascination with the occult and surreal.  Ok, I’ll get right to the point – why are we fascinated with aliens?  I’ve no doubt that we’re not alone in the universe and I think that we’re pretty naive to think otherwise.  However it seems that movies about aliens and alien possession have been around for ages and maybe it’s just me, but are there more of them now?  I suppose we have to cite the Paranormal Activity series of films and the offspring of impostors that it would inevitably produce.  I don’t know, there’ just seems to be a lot of those types of films around.  And, oddly enough, though I believe in aliens, I just find it hard to swallow that so many people claim they were kidnapped or possessed by aliens.  But hey, I’m a cynic.  That aside, Dark Skies is a movie that was in the theaters for a blink of an eye and now it’s arrived on Blu-ray.  Dare we proceed?

Lacy Barrett (Keri Russell) is a Realtor trying to make ends meet while her unemployed husband, Daniel (Josh Hamilton), an architect, looks for work.  Jesse (Dakota Goyo) is a typical teenager, interested in girls and is on the verge of losing his innocence.  Younger brother Sam (Kadan Rockett) seems to be the one who’s more in touch with the more mystical side of things, though.  When some strange things start to happen, there’s no explanation.  A flock of birds hits the house, members of the family space out for hours at a time and Sam has unexplained bruises on his body.  Daniel and Lacy seek out Edwin (J.K. Simmons), someone who’s an expert at this very thing and as he gives them the news that they aren’t imagining things, it might be the beginning of the end.  Or is it?

I hadn’t heard of Dark Skies and I really wanted to like it.  That’s not to say it was a bad movie, but after seeing all of the Paranormal Activity films I just felt that I knew what was going to happen before the characters in the film did.  And, more to the point, I think the aforementioned series of films has a more natural and realistic feel to them with them being on home video.  I don’t know…I can relate more to it.  I can say that it’s always nice to see Keri Russell in films and after a bit of head scratching, I finally figured out where I’d seen Josh Hamilton before (in 1993’s Alive as Roberto Canessa) and the always reliable J.K. Simmons delivers a brief, but memorable performance.  Fans of this type of film might find it entertaining, but I guess I’m more of a Paranormal Activity guy.

Video: How does it look?

Unlike the Paranormal Activity films, this is a pure “live-action” movie presented in a 2.40:1 AVC HD image that’s nothing short of striking.  I used to think Keri Russell was perhaps one of the most beautiful women on the face of the planet.  In many ways, I still do.  But like everyone she’s aged a bit and her once flawless skin now has a few laugh lines and a few wrinkles under her eyes.  Hey, we’re all human.  I mention this as the image is so crystal clear that it can make someone like Keri Russell even appear to have flaws.  Outside scenes are dazzling and bright with vivid color abounding.  It’s a great-looking transfer and one that’s not indicative of its dark nature.

Audio: How does it sound?

I think what surprised me the most about this film was the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack.  Granted, I’d had high hopes for the audio and it delivered, but what really got me was the LFE that seemed to resonate throughout the majority of the later half of the film.  Most horror films usually have a standard “shock” moment or two when something scary happens or is about to.  That’s not really the case here, but the audio certainly plays a role in the film and the use of the uncompressed soundtrack certainly aids in building the tension.

Supplements: What are the extras?

We don’t get a lot here other than an audio commentary and several alternate and deleted scenes.  There’s also a DVD of the film as well as an UltraViolet copy to boot.

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