BY MICHELLE MEDFORD
An easy way to get me to see a movie is to tell me it’s a horror about aliens. As someone who’s afraid of aliens and who enjoys watching horror because it’s fun to be scared, it’s the perfect combination, keeping in mind, that any movie about aliens will always be scarier for believers. (Before you write me off as a weirdo, at least know that Stephen Hawking is on our side.) However, being a believer, it’s also got a hefty list of criteria to meet in order for me to be scared and enjoy it. It has to be original, logical (as far as sci-fi logic goes) and entertaining, not mention, it should also take itself seriously. Most importantly, it also has to fit in with what I believe might be possible, and what I believe might be possible, may not be the same as what others think. That being said, Dark Skies was pretty good.
When I first saw the trailer for Dark Skies, I thought it looked terrible but I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from going to the theatres to see it (on opening day). Looking back at the trailer now that I’ve seen the movie, it feels like they made a list of all the scares and chose a handful of the least impactful ones, sometimes even trimming them to make them even less impactful.
On one hand, I can appreciate this. I usually try not to watch entire trailers for movies because I feel that once you get to the two-thirds mark, they start to spoil too much. I also really hate (as I’m sure we all do) when horror trailers reveal all the great scares in their trailers just to sell tickets so that when you see the movie, there’s nothing left to keep you on edge.
On the other hand, it seems like the trailer editors had a lot of confidence in their premise and weaker scares, thinking that such a crappy trailer would sell to a broader audience. Of course, I can’t speak to everyone, but the only people I know who are interested in this movie are horror fans, and even some horror fans aren’t interested at all, and I feel that the trailer played in a part in that. If I weren’t into alien movies, I wouldn’t have gone on opening day. Actually, I probably would have just waited for the DVD.
To switch sides again, this sort of works to the film’s and viewers’ advantage, in a way. This movie attracts sci-fi/horror lovers, and those are the only people who are going to really enjoy this movie. It’s like a way for filmmakers to filter out the bad fan reviews by creating a trailer that speaks only to the audience that will love it and spread the word. The critical reviews for this film have already started to come in and the verdict is generally that it’s boring and scares are weak. However, for those who come to this film with these fears pre-existing, the scares carry much more meaning and, in turn, impact.
So, allow me to put an end to my rambling. If you’re looking for a generally well-acted sci-fi/horror movie where scares are spaced out just enough to keep teasing you along, slowly escalating and pulling you further into a terrifying mystery that plays on everyday fears and subverts suburban life–including a thoughtful look at family dynamics–and you can give into the possibility that we are not alone in the universe, then go see Dark Skies.