DARK SKIES Blu-ray Review

     June 14, 2013

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Blumhouse Productions (Insidious, Sinister, Paranormal Activity, The Purge) has become known for micro-budget horror films that go gangbusters at the box office.  With Dark Skies, Blumhouse combined their well-honed approach to horror with a sci-fi twist, namely a threat from extraterrestrial beings.  While it’s certainly not the biggest money-maker for the production company, Dark Skies might be my favorite of their films so far.  Not only does it feature an exceptional cast in Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Annie Thurman and J.K Simmons, but writer-director Scott Stewart combines the best of Steven Spielberg’s family-centric films with a hint of Stanley Kubrick’s psychological horror.  Now that Dark Skies is available on Blu-ray, you can check it out for yourself.  Hit the jump for my Blu-ray review.

dark-skies-keri-russell-imageFeature:

Rather than rehash my review of the film, you can check out what I thought of it here.  In brief, I felt Dark Skies was an entertaining little thriller that smartly avoided the found-footage pitfall and wisely chose to focus on each of the characters in a family that’s being terrorized.  The mystery portion of Dark Skies doesn’t exactly hit the nail on the head since the title and the promotional material screams “aliens,” but the build up to the eventual – and obvious – reveal is a fun ride.  Russell and Hamilton portray the most convincing “married couple with issues” I’ve seen in a while and Goyo and his co-star Kadan Rockett are complete naturals.  Simmons brings some gravitas to an exposition-filled role that could have come across as ham-fisted in someone else’s hands.

It’s a testament to Stewart’s writing that Dark Skies isn’t ultimately about aliens and abductions at all, but rather about family and, more acutely, about one boy’s ill-fated journey through adolescence.  This short, nicely-paced thriller is definitely worth a watch, but suffices as a rental for all but those who are starting their Blumhouse Production collections eaerly.

dark-skies-josh-hamiltonBonus Features:

Audio Commentary from writer-director Scott Stewart, producer Jason Blum, executive producer Brian Kavanaugh and editor Peter Gvozdas

  • While this is only one track for all of the above-mentioned commenters, it does delve into all aspects of making the film, from the casting process to working within the film’s limited budget to decisions made on visual components like coloring and lighting, as well as audio features including musical cues and sound effects.  It’s a nice companion piece to the movie, especially for someone interested in tips and tricks on how to achieve certain effects on a shoe-string budget.  It’s also worthwhile for anyone who is a fan of Blumhouse Productions’ model of movie making.

Alternate Scenes (with and without commentary)

  • Nine total alternate and deleted scenes, including an alternate ending that features an otherworldly version of Sam.

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