A fresh spin on the 1980′s teen horror genre.
Reviewed by Patrick Cooper
Dark Skies is part domestic drama, part home invasion horror, part coming of age film, and just a little bit alien invasion thriller. It didn’t get a lot of marketing attention and seemed to drift in and out of theaters without making much noise, but hopefully it finds a greater audience on home video because it’s really a good movie. It may not push any envelopes and probably won’t have anyone sleeping with the night light on, but for what it is, it’s perfectly fine and better than a lot of the major studio horror flicks that have tarnished screens lately (*coughTheApparitioncough*). READ MORE
You have to respect Jason Blum’s ability to play things close to the vest. Aside from Sinister 2 – which they only had to announce because Eli Roth tweeted about it – he only really lets you in on stuff when he’s ready to start shooting (which seems to be the case here). Blumhouse Productions has announced the start of production on their new film Scary House.
It stars Patrick Wilson (Insidious, Watchmen), Amy Seimetz (The Sacrament), Jessica Tyler Brown (Paranormal Activity 3) and Patton Oswalt (Young Adult) in what’s described as “a haunting slow burn inside a typical suburban home that may or may not be infested with supernatural forces.” The film will be directed by Scott Stewart (Dark Skies) from a script by Chad Hayes (The Conjuring).
In a way, the title leads me to wonder if they’re using something so general as part of some meta The Cabin In The Woods approach, but apparently not. It seems like they’re swinging for the fences to make the “ultimate” suburban haunted house movie.
Per the official synopsis, “After suffering a loss, Jonathan (Wilson) and Lindsay (Seimetz) and their young daughter Amethyst (Brown) move into a modest home in a quiet suburban enclave where they intend to mend their family back to normal. While Jonathan struggles with unemployment and Lindsay yearns for the man he used to be, the tensions between them worsen as things slowly start going wrong with the house itself. Unwilling to move out of the house and unable to suffer one more night of ‘things happening’, they consult paranormal expert Aleksandar (Oswalt) hoping to find solace. Instead, they find that they are living in their greatest nightmare.”
Head inside for more! READ MORE
Spoiler Warning: Anyone keeping tabs on director Scott Charles Stewart knows that he has problems focusing on a single film. He was incredibly vocal in declaring that both Legion and Priest were set to be the first films in a trilogy. Both “franchises” failed. It appears that he’s learned nothing from his past failures as Dark Skies, his alien horror flick produced by Blumhouse, makes the exact same mistakes. Once again, it looks as if Stewart is too focused on a sequel, instead of nurturing his first baby that needs love and attention.
Dark Skies follows a suburban family that, after a few welcome nods to Poltergeist, has an increasingly difficult time grappling with the reality that their incredibly severe problems stem from something supernatural. Lacy (Keri Russell) and Daniel (Josh Hamilton) have two sons, the teenage Jesse (Dakota Goyo) and the younger Sam (Kadan Rockett). They’ve also got big time money problems and an inability to accept the obvious.
The biggest issue with Dark Skies is its screenplay, written by Stewart himself. The film is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most boring features I’ve seen in years. Taking slow burn to an entirely new level, it traffics in some of the most cliche alien motifs out there, but also feels the need to eventually over-explain everything in one purging moment. After over an hour of obvious hints and weird occurrences (such as the birds scene from the trailer – as well as missing time, rashes behind ears, and unwatchable camera footage), the filmmakers decide to assault the viewer with an overly long explanation of occurrences that they’ve likely already figured out for themselves (God forbid any filmmaker would want to leave an air of mystery around their project). The scene featuring JK Simmons, much like Sinister‘s moment with Vincent D’Onofrio, is fast becoming a Blumhouse staple. In it, Simmons explains EVERYTHING to Russell and Hamilton, from who the aliens are to what they want and why the family has chips behind their ears. In fact, the explanation is so in-depth and pointless that it actually contradicts everything the aliens are doing. It’s such a bizarre and oddly placed scene that not only does it bring the shred of tension to a halt, but it causes the viewer to mentally exit the film in order to try to piece all of the nonsense together. The last thing a filmmaker wants is to lose their audience, but this is the moment where it all collapses.
Stewart attempts to regain footing by dropping the viewers immediately into a “must survive” situation because, apparently, THAT NIGHT was the exact night the aliens decided to unveil their mysterious plan. The logic gaps are so overwhelming that it’s impossible for the viewer to get their minds back in the game. The final 15 minutes are rushed, incoherent, and even worse, not scary – which is odd considering they completely ripped off James Wan’s Insidious for its story structure.
Even more damning is the film’s unsatisfying conclusion, where Stewart blatantly sets up his sequel that he’s been secretly thinking about all along. In referencing Insidious, Dark Skies‘ finale should have been the end of its second act, which is why the bloat of the film feels drawn out and boring.
Even if Dark Skies had been scary, it would be impossible to rewatch without fast forwarding. It’s shocking to me that a single frame at a birthday party in Signs is scarier than the entirety of this film. Maybe it’s because the aliens’ motives don’t feel real, or maybe it’s the way the film was shot, but at the end of the day you may as well go watch Fire In The Sky on Netflix and see what a real scary alien movie is all about.
Last night I attended a preview of Jason Blum’s Los Angeles haunted attraction, “The Blumhouse Of Horrors”. While what I saw wasn’t 100% finished, it was certainly impressive. It’s not so much a maze as it is a building full of haunts, characters, magic and smoke. I took a guided tour, which is not a VIP thing, it’s how the attraction is meant to be experienced since your guides are pretty creepy as well. There’s a lot of cool stuff to see (and feel – I know BD alum Brian Collins even got zapped). There’s also a neat feature that had the claustrophobic in me absolutely reeling. If you live in LA, and are a fan of haunted houses, I certainly recommend it.
The Blumhouse of Horrors opens on October 4th and will be open to the public Thursday through Saturday throughout October. And it’s open the entire week of Halloween. Info and tickets are available on the official site. You can also follow the Blumhouse Facebook and Twitter for more info.
After experiencing the attraction I sat down with Jason Blum to talk about his inspiration for the experience and how he tailored it to fit the building’s unique space. We also talked about some if his upcoming films. Insidious 2 seems to be just a click away and the existence of Paranormal Activity 5 seems to be a given at this point. We also talk about Dark Skies and the Ethan Hawke-starring Vigilandia, which is now titled The Purge. Head inside for the interview, it’s short but sweet! READ MORE
With production kicking off August 3, Josh Hamilton (pictured inside; The Bourne Identity) and Dakota Goyo (Real Steel, Thor) have landed roles in Scott Charles Stewart’s Dark Skies. They’ll join the previously announced Keri Russell and Daniel Barrett.
Jason Blum through his Blumhouse Productions and Alliance Films are producing with Dimension on to distribute, we exclusively reported that the horror flick focuses on a 6-year-old boy who’s apparently been “marked” by an alien (living among us) for future abduction. It looks like it taps into some of the same themes of Fright Night, while also playing into child abuse (did the parents cause these marks on the child’s body?) READ MORE
Last month Dimension Films confirmed our scoop that they have acquired U.S. distribution rights to the supernatural thriller Dark Skies, written and directed by Scott Stewart (Priest, Legion). Jason Blum (Insidious) will produce through Blumhouse Productions alongside Alliance Films, which will fully finance the picture. Alliance Films will distribute in Canada, in the UK (via Momentum Pictures), and in Spain.
We already knew that the horror flick focuses on the parent’s 6-year-old boy who’s apparently been “marked” by an alien (living among us) for future abduction. Now the official synopsis ties into that description, “Dark Skies is a psychological thriller about a suburban couple whose lives become a nightmare when a terrifying alien presence enters their home each night to prey upon their children. Increasingly isolated from skeptical friends and neighbors, the couple is forced to take matters into their own hands to save their family.
Dark Skies stars Keri Russell (Mission: Impossible III, Grimm Love) and Daniel Barrett as the aforementioned suburban couple. The film is scheduled to go into production this summer.
Scott Stewart’s adaptation of the popular manga Priest is coming to theatres next Friday and if you live in the Orlando area, B-D has got your chance to check it out early! We’ve been given 125 passes (good for 2 people each) to an advanced screening of the film at AMC Universal (6000 Universal Blvd.) at 7:30 PM on Thursday, May 12. To win, all you have to do is email your name to firstname.lastname@example.org. Passes will be distributed via email on a first come, first served basis.
With all the clips released for Priest over the last few weeks, I don’t expect anything to be left to my imagination by the time I see it. Still, I’m curious to see whether Screen Gems is putting this out during the summer because a) they think it’s good and have faith in it or b) it’s a glorious train wreck they think audiences might eat up during Hollywood’s official “turn your brain off” season.
The new clip features Paul Bettany and Cam Gigandet fighting off newborn vampires. There’s a severe lack of Karl Urban in the film’s marketing, which strikes me as odd considering he’s probably the most marketable name in the cast. Screen Gems, if we’re going to be inundated with more clips, can I please see the future Judge Dredd in action? Is that too much to ask?
Priest – hitting theatres on May 13 – is set in an alternate world ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest (Paul Bettany) from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. When his niece (Lily Collins) is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on an obsessive quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. He is joined on his crusade by his niece’s boyfriend (Cam Gigandet), a trigger-fingered young wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess (Maggie Q) who possesses otherworldly fighting skills.
The closer we get to Priest‘s release date, the more interested in it I become. I’m absolutely fascinated with Screen Gems putting a dark, genre-based action film out during the summer when they’ve traditionally released them in the early Fall and Winter months (maybe it’s not bad?), and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think some of the clips were at least “visually stimulating”. But the thing that piques my interest the most is that there’s an animated opening sequence done by Genndy Tartakovsky(!).
Screen Gems released a brand new clip today which, much like last week’s, shows us the frantic pace of the film’s action scenes. Paul Bettany killing vampire-like creatures with tiny crucifix daggers? Sure, why not.
Priest is set in an alternate world — one ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest (Paul Bettany) from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. When his niece (Lily Collins) is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on an obsessive quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. He is joined on his crusade by his niece’s boyfriend (Cam Gigandet), a trigger-fingered young wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess (Maggie Q) who possesses otherworldly fighting skills.
Gearing up for a May 13 release, Screen Gems released a new clip from their post-apocalyptic TokyoPop adapatation, Priest. In the snippet, Maggie Q’s warrior priestess character takes on a pack of desert hoodlums by throwing punches, blades and motorcycles.
Priest is set in an alternate world, ravaged by centuries of war between men and vampires. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest (Paul Bettany) from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. When his niece (Lily Collins) is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on an obsessive quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. He is joined on his crusade by his niece’s boyfriend (Cam Gigandet), a trigger-fingered young wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess (Maggie Q) who possesses otherworldly fighting skills.
In the supernatural action thriller Legion, an out-of-the-way diner becomes the unlikely battleground for the survival of the human race. When God loses faith in Mankind, he sends his legion of angels to bring on the Apocalypse. Humanity’s only hope lies in a group of strangers trapped in a desert diner and the Archangel Michael (Paul Bettany).