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Into the dark zone

Film Review: Dark Skies (15A, general release, 97 minutes)

Director: Scott Stewart Stars: Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, J.K. Simmons, Dakota Goyo

Low budget aliens are always the most insidious. Unable to afford ray guns and spaceships and gleaming Lycra spacesuits, they linger in the shadows and shimmer into view only occasionally, seeming all the more terrifying as a consequence.

That at least is the premise by which Dark Skies operates: it was made for $3.5m, a modest budget for a sci-fi film, and tries to make a virtue of its economy. It almost succeeds too, but for me is undermined by a disappointing climax and too many moments of unintentional comedy.

Daniel and Lacy Barrett (Josh Hamilton and Kari Russell) seem like a fairly ordinary couple: they have two boys and live in a modest suburban home and, like a lot of families these days, struggle to make ends meet. But their financial woes are put in sharp perspective when a series of disturbing events persuade the Barretts they're being targeted.

Their burglar alarm starts inexplicably triggering, the contents of the larder are found arranged in precarious towers, their youngest boy begins wetting himself and birds kill themselves by flying into the Barretts' house. And Lucy is the first to realise that something unearthly has invaded their lives.

Dark Skies has a strong Twilight Zone feel, and is stubbornly downbeat and pessimistic. But its alien premise feels woefully underdeveloped, and in the end it seemed to me to boldly go nowhere.

Irish Independent