On Friday, February 22nd, Dark Skies hits theaters nationwide, arriving on the heels of three horror-themed projects which did well for themselves at the box office. Although it’s scarcely been two full months since 2013 began, the genre has consistently dominated its competition: Texas Chainsaw 3D, Mama and Warm Bodies all exceeded commercial expectations, if not necessarily critical ones.
All of which is perhaps why Dark Skies sneaks into theaters without having been screened for (most) critics. Hoping to conquer the box office in a sneak attack — or possibly to avoid the critical drubbing that horror films often endure — the film arrives with few expectations, although it remains to be seen whether that benefits or harms the film’s financial prospects.
Meanwhile, those who have seen it have been decidedly mixed in their reaction. But horror is a genre with a specific sort of appeal, so take these reactions — both positive and negative — with a grain of salt.
Here’s a look at what some critics have to say, so far:
Joel D. Amos, Moviefanatic.com
“Dark Skies is one surprise of an alien invasion movie. The shock and awe slowly boils until the payoff. Writer-director Scott Stewart has painted a picture of modern suburbia that is not only terrifying, but grounded in a reality that makes it all the scarier…”
Vanessa Farquharson, The National Post
“It will appeal to those who crave sudden shocks and dark hallways and shadowy figures — and will definitely draw some conspiracy theorists to the theatre — but it hardly has any mainstream appeal. Even the scariest of visual effects can’t make up for a lack of coherent storytelling…”
Sara Stewart, The New York Post
“…Dark Skies delivers some genuinely creepy moments, albeit with many a nod to earlier (and superior) scary movies like “Poltergeist.” And coming just a week after that freaky Russian meteor crash, when better to indulge in a little alien-abduction paranoia?”
Drew Taylor, Indiewire.com
“The ultimate alien abduction movie, something that could do for peaceful nighttime slumbers what “Jaws” did for a day at the beach, has yet to be produced and Dark Skies, a new sci-fi horror thingee that grafts the alien abduction theme onto what is essentially a loose remake of “Poltergeist,” certainly attempts such a feat. And it is pretty scary. Unfortunately, all its hard work is undone by a bewilderingly goofy ending that is roughly the cinematic equivalent of an unwanted anal probe…
Michael Gingold, Fangoria.com
“If Dark Skies ultimately doesn’t explore much fresh territory for its subgenre, it’s also better than its unscreened-in-advance status might suggest. The production is slick while remaining grounded in the reality required to center the story, and Stewart and his cast get us to care about the characters even as we feel like we’ve seen the forces threatening them before. Never mind what’s happening in the skies; it’s the darkness that descends within the Barretts’ household that proves most resonant here…”
Have you seen Dark Skies? Do you agree with the critics? Tell us below!
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