The Problem with Dark Skies

Keri Russell distrusts her TV in Dark Skies.
Keri Russell distrusts her TV in Dark Skies.

By all accounts, Dark Skies is an impossibly generic horror film. The ingredients are recognizable: Couple going through a rough patch? Check. Two cute kids? Check. Foreign threat they fail to understand, even though it’s kind of obvious? Check. Quirky expert? Double check.

Compared to the most recent mainstream films, Dark Skies is okay, more or less cohesive and respectful of its own internal logic. There is, however, one problematic plot point. Early in the film, the teenage son is introduced by an older kid to adult entertainment. The video -briefly shown- is so spectacularly bizarre it gives the impression the writer/director Scott Stewart has never seen a porn film.

It wouldn’t be as problematic if Dark Skies wasn’t going for realism. The porn film is a plot point and it’s supposed to become ingrained in the kid’s brain. As moronic as adult entertainment can be, the goal is to be titillating, not grotesque from the get go. Considering Stewart previously perpetrated the criminally bad Priest and Legion, consider Dark Skies strike three.

Author: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Journalist, film critic, documentary filmmaker, and sometimes nice guy. Member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. Like horror flicks, long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Allergic to cats.