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Surprisingly entertaining: where Poltergeist meets Paranormal
on February 22, 2013
"Dark Skies" (2013 relase; 97 min.) brings the story of the Barrett family. Mom (played by Keri "Felicity" Russell) and dad (played by Josh Hamilton) are stressing because of their precarious financial situation (Dad is in between jobs, mom is barely hanging on to her real easate brokerage). They have two sons, 13 yr. old Jesse and 5 or 6 yr. old Sammy. Then slowly but surely strange things are starting to happen in and around the house, including a strange "remodeling" of the kitchen, then disappearance of pictures, and then hundreds of birds flying head-on into the house for no apparent reason. What is going on here exactly? At this point we're not even half-way into the movie, and things are to get a lot more tense than that still. But to tell you more of a plot-heavy movie like this would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Several comments: first, I had seen the trailer for this movie a few times in recent weeks, and thought it looked kinda interesting. I took a chance on this, and am glad I did. It is not a horror movie as such, nor is it really a sci-fi movie. "Dark Skies" actually falls somewhere in between, and on more than one occasion during the movie I saw elements from the "Paranormal Activity" franchise and also from the "Poltergeist" franchise just to name those. Second, what a delight to see Keri Russell again,as I sort of lost track of her. It is incredible that 2013 marks the 15th anniversary of when "Felicity" first hit the small screen. Russell is ageing quite nicely (if you can call someone in their mid/late-30s "ageing"), and she carries this movie, period. Kudos also to young Kadan Rockett as little Sammy, and J.K. Simmons who plays a small role late into the movie. Third, I must give a shout-out to the excellent placement of the Drums song "Days" midway into the movie, bringing a few moments of tension relief (for reasons I don't want to reveal) at that point in the movie.
The screening I saw "Dark Skies" at tonight here in Cincinnati was quite well attended. Smartly the director and producers of the movie made this into a PG-13 movie, rather than an R rated movie, and the audience tonight was heavily tilted towards the younger HS kids. They were loving this movie, laughing and screaming (sometimes at the same time) at all the right moments, and when the credits started to roll, the audience even gave an applause. Bottom line: "Dark Skies" is surprisingly entertaining, and better than I had expected.