2013-03-15 / Entertainment/Lifestyles


“Dark Skies” – Close Encounters Of A Nasty Kind
By Robert Snyder

Remember nice space aliens, like E.T. They’re gone along with jobs and decent home values. At least, that’s what today’s Hollywood seems to be saying.

“Dark Skies” is a paranoid haunted house-space invader thriller, mixing extraterrestrial abduction with recession woes. Produced by the “Paranormal Activity” franchise people, it actually has a decent though derivative storyline, a permeating creepiness and a few shocks to jolt you awake.

We first see that homes in a nice suburban community are in foreclosure. One that’s about to be is inhabited by a sweet young couple, the Barretts, Daniel (Josh Hamilton) and Lacy (Keri Russell), and their boys, teenage Jesse (Dakota Goyo) and youngster Sam (Kadan Rockett).

Daniel’s unemployed, while Lacy is having a tough time as a realtor. The creepshow starts when Sam talks of nocturnal visits from something called, “the Sandman.” Unable to afford to hook up the home alarm system, the Barretts notice signs of a midnight refrigerator raid and household items in complex geometric spaces on the kitchen table. Obviously unfamiliar with Steven Spielberg movies, the couple finds this strange and calls 911. A policeman (L.J. Benet) arrives and blames their kids.

Things get worse. The parents and kids lapse in and out of comas. Weird welts and rashes appear on their skin. Hundreds of birds smash into the house. Then, Lacy sees an alien, herself.

It’s time to call an E.T. expert. Daniel and Lacy google, then go to a reclusive guy, Edwin Pollard (the ever-reliable J.K. Simmons of “Juno” fame). He cuts to the chase and tells them that intergalactic aliens (“Grays”) are about to abduct Sam.

What to do? “Stick together as a family.”

So the bank’s about to take their house and aliens are about to take their kid. This is definitely a contemporary dilemma.

But is it all in their heads—extreme recession stress?

Who knows?

Dark Skies” is good enough to keep your mind off your bills for an hour and a half. Go see it, if you have the money.

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