FILM FANS: 'Dark Skies' is cheesy with script, CGI, suspense

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "Dark Skies." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2 stars out of 4

"Dark Skies," from writer/director Scott Stewart, wants to be as eerie as "Poltergeist" and as thought-provoking as "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," but falls short on both counts.

You'll feel like you've seen this one before, as "Dark Skies" steals several plot points from many (and far superior) sci-fi and suspense movies. The script is uneven, and the performances are as well. Keri Russell is believable as Lacy Barrett, caring mother and unsuccessful realtor. Josh Hamilton's portrayal of Daniel Barrett, moody father and out-of-work architect, is lackluster. Dakota Goyo and Kadan Rockett turn in fine performances as sons Jesse and Sam, but some of their lines are so inane that a few laughs could be heard in the theater. Even talented J.K. Simmons is unable to save the film with his brief scene as alien expert Edwin Pollard. What could have been a tense few minutes as Lacy and Daniel hear details about past abductions is a rather boring scene that stalls the movie in its final 40 minutes.

Sometimes trailers can make a flick look better than it actually is, and "Dark Skies" falls into that category. While it has a couple decent scares and suspenseful moments, it is largely unoriginal and, ultimately, forgettable.

-- Paul Tate, Sugar Hill

1/2 star out of 4

I wish I could think of a single word to describe this movie. Unfortunately, one word could not possibly do it justice, so here is a small collection that I think best describes it: dull, colorless, humdrum, insipid, lifeless and mundane.

It is a convoluted effort to blend several formerly successful movies into one, add a few unexplained and unconnected episodes of people standing completely frozen with their mouths open, either screaming or just looking completely horrified, then waking up with no idea of what has just happened to them. It is a weak effort to combine "Close Encounters," "Poltergeist" and "The X-Files" with a brief smattering of "Paranormal Activities" that contains none of the substance of any of them. The acting is fair, with some standout scenes performed by Kadan Rockett as the 5-year-old son Sam, and J.K. Simmons as the "expert" the family consults about their "problem." Otherwise it is a slow, lackluster story that gains momentum much too late, and ends with a scene similar to a scene from "Signs" with Sam talking to someone or something on his walkie-talkie, which suggests a sequel that should never be made.

Save your money, stay home and watch re-runs of movies that you have already seen. They should be much more entertaining.

-- Steve Kalberg, Lawrenceville

2 stars of 4

The movie "Dark Skies" is written and directed by Scott Stewart and stars Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton. It's about this family that has strange things happen to them and come to the conclusion that it is because of aliens. It has some suspenseful scenes that add some tension in there at times, but overall it was not a great movie.

The character played by Russell was the most believable out of all the characters. The script was horribly written and the dialogue between the characters comes off as so forced it starts to go toward more of a comedic side. The movie has a lot of similarities to previous alien encounter movies such as the movie "Signs," which was the movie I was thinking of as I was watching it. The movie "Signs" is definitely one of my favorite alien movies, which makes me dislike this movie even more. When the aliens show up, the CGI is horrible and you can tell it is fake.

It is just an over-the-top movie that is not recommended seeing in the theater.

-- Brittany Wygladalski, Sugar Hill