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Movie Review

Dark Skies

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, terror throughout, sexual material, drug content and language—all involving teens.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Sci-Fi Horror Suspense Thriller
1 hr. 37 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
February 22, 2013 (wide)
DVD: May 28, 2013
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Relevant Issues
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FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

Aliens (extraterrestrials)

What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer

Are we alone in the universe? Answer

Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer

questions and answers about the origin of life

use of marijuana

PORNOGRAPHY—How can I tell if I’m getting addicted to pornography or sex? Answer

TEMPTATIONS—How can I deal with temptations? Answer

child abuse issues

Featuring: Keri Russell
J.K. Simmons
Dakota Goyo … Jesse
Josh Hamilton … Daniel
Michael Patrick McGill … Ratner’s Father
Annie Thurman … Shelly
Brian Stepanek … Director of Security
more »
Director: Scott Charles Stewart
Producer: Alliance Films
Blumhouse Productions
more »
Distributor: Dimension Films, The Weinstein Company

“Fear the dark. Once you’ve been chose, you belong to them.”

Lacy (Keri Russell) and Daniel Barett (Josh Hamilton) and their two sons, Jesse and Sam, are your average American family. Unfortunately, though, while Lacy and Nathaniel put on a good act in front of their neighbors, their family is far from ideal, behind closed doors. Lacy and Nathaniel are struggling financially to maintain the necessities of life (home, food, security), and tensions are high between the couple.

Now, the film asks us to direct our attention to their two boys, Jesse and Sam. Jesse has always looked out for his younger brother Sam and reads a book (through walkie-talkie communication) to him every night, involving scary stories. On one particular night, Jesse tells Sam about the horror story of the “Sandman,” and, ever since then, strange phenomena begin occurring in the house. After several unexplainable events, witnessed by Lacy and Nathan, Lacy decides to do some research on the strange occurrences and seeks advice from a specialist. ***SPOILER*** The specialist tells Lacy and Nathan that their family is being invaded and studied by a group of extraterrestrials called the “Greys.” Supposedly, when the Greys visit a family, they study their targets and eventually abduct one of the family members. With this information, Lacy and Nathan vow to protect their two sons against the Greys, during what may be the family’s “darkest” hour… ***END SPOILER***

When filmmakers and producers market a film, they usually attempt to give perspective viewers very little plotline information. This is a very clever marketing strategy, as it leaves viewers guessing about the actual, shall I say, “meat” of the story. “Dark Skies” is one of those films that, even though you may view the trailers, synopsis, and tagline, you will lack the basic thrust of this story, until you spend your 8 dollars at the theater. I assumed that this movie would fall more under the category of a “human-possession, demonic spirits film,” looking at factors such as the producers of the film having also produced “Paranormal Activity” and “Insidious.” ***SPOILER*** It wasn’t until halfway through that I realized it was an alien abduction film, so the movie gets a thumbs up from me for keeping the suspense up till that point. ***END SPOILER***

Cinematically speaking, there are some elements that needed more editing. The acting was one dimensional, in the beginning, but later improved significantly. I do believe, though, they could have done a better job with the character development of each family member. For example, we hear bits and pieces about the illnesses Jesse suffered through as a child, but when we realize how important they are to the story, those “bits and pieces” don’t render themselves useful, until the very end, and, even then, it is a very brief epiphany. In terms of the actual plot, it fell somewhere between thin and developed. The story is unclear throughout half of the film, and I asked myself, “So what is going on with the family?”, but I believe that was the writers’ intention, and I liked that aspect. However, once I discovered the revelation behind the strange occurrences, the story remained on a steady plateau, as not much else occurs other than brief possessions, moments of very frightening terror (please heed the PG-13 rating), and a dénouement (or resolution) that kept me guessing until the very end (I knew what might happen, but realized later that the story could have gone either way).

Objectionable Content

Violence: I’m going to have to say Heavy, to be on the safe side. Most of the violence in this film involves the multiple and frequent scenes of terror/horror that occur to the Baretts. They are very frightening, so I recommend leaving the children with a babysitter. There are scenes of possession, and moments where main characters are being controlled by the invisible Greys that are disturbing, at the very least. In addition, Daniel attacks Ratner (Jesse’s best friend) in a fit of rage and later attacks Ratner’s father when he tries to intervene and protect his son. Daniel finally gets knocked out. There are scenes where Sam and Jesse can be seen with very abnormal, prevalent bruising all over their chests. Nathaniel, after being possessed by one of the Greys’, is found by Lacy, and we see blood pouring out of both nostrils. There is a scene where Jesse is shot with a toy gun (foam bullets). There is also a dream sequence in which Lacy is seen (since she is a realtor) giving a tour of the home, has an episode, and slams her head repeatedly against a glass door, to the point of breaking it and receiving a cut on her forehead. If that isn’t enough to scare you, there is a disturbing scene at the end of the film, where Jesse watches Daniel take the shotgun he bought, stick the barrel under his chin, and commit suicide (the suicide is shown off-screen).

Profanity: Heavy. There were multiple instances of the word “sh*t,” one instance of “p**sy,” “bull-sh*t” (1), “a**” (1), “h*ll” (1), “b*tch” (1), and Jesus’ name is taken in vain at least once. And there is an inappropriate term, I will not mention here, for a woman’s breasts. Other profanity includes the terms “ratface,” the phrases “spicing up our sex life” and “having to go downtown with a lady,” and the word “d*ck.”

Sex/Nudity: Heavy. There are a couple scenes where Jesse and his friend Kevin watch a couple making out, and the man grabs the woman’s breast repeatedly (we see a close up shot of this). Later, Jesse attempts this move on one of the girls he likes and gets pushed away (an appropriate reaction). Jesse receives his first kiss in one scene. There are brief, passionate kissing scenes between Lacy and Daniel. During a possession scene, Sam is shown standing in the front yard naked (we only see his chest and back). In addition, Lacy wears some very revealing nightgowns. A comment about a lesbian relationship is also made

Other: Jesse lies to Lacy about the content he was watching on TV with Kevin. There are multiple scenes of blood shown. There is a scene, I believe, where a bong is seen on the table, and Jesse and his friends do drugs. Daniel comes home with a bottle of champagne. Lastly, there is a scene where Sam wets himself while at the playground.


At the beginning of the film, there is a quote from a famous author that states (I am paraphrasing here), “Either we are alone in this world, or we are not, and there is someone out there in control of our lives. Both of these thoughts are frightening.” Sadly, many believe we are alone in this world, and, if I may borrow elements from my pastor’s sermon this morning, we try, as humans, to be “independent and in control of every aspect of our lives.” We do not wish to believe that the omnipotent creator of the universe, God, controls not only the Earth, but even us. It is that mentality that Jesus wishes us to break free from. If we love Jesus, we must be willing to surrender control of our lives and leave them for Him to manage. This is a difficult task, as it does go against our better judgment and selfish, independent nature. However, we must be willing to “take up our cross” and follow Him and know that He is in control, if we wish to truly be Jesus’ disciples.

Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers

Final Thoughts

Once “Dark Skies” had finished, I immediately noticed I was in a state of shock and had a timid sensation running up and down my arms. This may have been from the 24 ounce cup of soda I had at the movie, or it may very well have been the fact that this movie was frightening (cheap theatrics or not), and that I had not seen a movie this frightening or felt that sensation since my review of “The Chernobyl Diaries.” With this in mind, I had to decide how many stars I would give it, knowing full well that, while parts of the movie still needed work, that I found its overall purpose was delivered… to frighten.

Nevertheless, I do not recommend this movie to Christians or young children, because the idea of alien abductions and human possessions (a.k.a. the violence) are unbiblical in every way. I have a feeling that this movie will not receive any Oscars® next year. Avoid this movie, or, at least, wait for the DVD, if you must see it.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer

Are we alone in the universe? Answer

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—My thoughts on this film have more to do with what it reveals about “The Greys,” than the actual story here. Alien contact, visitation and abduction are a very real occurrence for many people, and their lives have been forever changed because of it. Some have lost their lives after an abduction experience, so it’s a serious matter to those who have been forced to endure this phenomenon. The interest in ET's, UFO’s and making contact with these beings is at a fever pitch these days and many in the world today have taken the, “We Are Not Alone” phrase to heart. The world is waiting for something—waiting for “Them”.

In this film and others similar to it such as “Signs” and “The Fourth Kind,” the entities always put the humans in a trance which causes them to lose control of their bodies and several hours of time because they have no recollection of what happened. These films have also displayed a very powerful tactic in thwarting the agendas of the entities—Family Unity. If Christians have paid attention to the actions of The Greys or other extraterrestrial entities in movies like Dark Skies, they will be able to immediately identify them for who they really are—Demonic Spirits. All those “trances” are nothing more than demonic possession.

The family unity and bonding scenes in these films and the real life stories of abductees praying and using the name of Jesus Christ to be free from them should reveal all you need to know about The Greys and ET’s. Such antiquated tactics like prayer, family unity and the name of Jesus, would never have any effect on actual ET’s, but they do here—because that’s not who they are!

So I praise this movie and others like it and recommend to the mature Christian as a learning tool. Study what Hollywood and the world has to say about The Greys and ET’s, and you’ll quickly see what’s in store for the world in welcoming such creatures—a grand deception!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Abe, age 54 (USA)

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