Dark Skies review (Blu-ray)

This chiller isn't that dissimilar to the Paranormal Activity series, only it's on a bigger canvas and is thankfully bereft of the cliched found footage format.

Russell and Hamilton play the everyday couple who live on a suburban house on a suburban street with their two sons, teenager Jesse (Goyo} who is struggling to come out of his shell and find his independence, and younger brother Sam (Rockett) who is displaying some decidedly odd straits, such as going into a trance at odd times. His increasingly worrisome behaviour naturally upsets his parents, but can they afford psychiatric treatment for the tyke? He's between jobs while her estate agent position will soon be at at risk. This family is certainly suffering in the credit crunch age.

They hardly need a malevolent force to terrorise them in their home, but this is what befalls them. Who rearranged the furniture and stole all their photos? Is there a poltergeist at bay? Why do three flocks of birds launch themselves at their house all at once? Perhaps ghost expert Simmons could offer some advice to them. He seems vastly knowledgeable on what they're experiencing.

Tension is nicely built thanks to the sterling work of the performers. Both leads are completely believable as the beleaguered parents seeing their existence torn asunder by the encroaching outer worldly forces. It's a well paced effort to be sure, drawing one in smoothly and confidently. Where it falls down though is in its lack of scares. Despite its attempts to frighten one is never left shivering in shock or terror. Jolts are few and far between. It's watchable enough but never the fearfest it strives to be.

EXTRAS ★★½ An audio commentary with writer-director Stewart, producers Jason Blum and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, and editor Peter Gvozdas; and 12 alternate and deleted scenes (21:40).

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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