Dark Skies (Blu-ray) Official AVSforum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-28-2013, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: The Weinstein Company- 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 97 minutes
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Keri Russell, Dakota Goyo, Josh Hamilton, Annie Thurman, J.K. Simmons, Trevor St. John
Directed by: Scott Charles Stewart
Written by: Scott Charles Stewart
Music by: Joseph Bishara
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 28, 2013

"Once you've been chosen, you belong to them."

Film Synopsis:

From the producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Sinister comes Dark Skies: A supernatural thriller that follows a young family living in the suburbs. As husband and wife Daniel (Josh Hamilton) and Lacy Barrett (Keri Russell) witness an escalating series of disturbing events involving their family, their safe and peaceful home quickly unravels. When it becomes clear that the Barrett family is being targeted by an unimaginably terrifying and deadly force, Daniel and Lacy take matters in their own hands to solve the mystery of what is after their family.

My Take:

Suspension of disbelief for entertainment value is something I can easily do. I can even overlook minor potholes as not all films are perfect pieces of art. However, I don't like blatant rip-offs and movies that treat the audience as fools. Case in point, Dark Skies. It's a proficient film from technical standpoint, with above average acting and an attractive visual aesthetic, but it has so much to thank other films (Poltergeist, Signs...) that it as almost too in your face. Plot-points seem inserted just to take you from A to B, and the writing was just lazy and uninspired. There is a gloss to film the that helped it seem better than it is to audiences (6.1on IMDB!!??), and it did make over 5 times its budget, but I didn't buy into it. I will say that I bought into the films mood and story for the first 45 minutes or so, but as the insults to my intelligence started to tally, so did my patience and forgiveness. I am being vague intentionally as to not spoil the film for others as the above synopsis is plenty to give you an idea, but I really do have a laundry list of points that drove me crazy.

Parental Guide:

Rated PG-13 for violence, terror throughout, sexual material, drug content and language - all involving teens

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 88

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Video: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Dark Skies comes to Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22.4 Mbps and DTS-MA HD 5.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps

Dark Skies has stellar video and interesting audio that helped make a disappointing movie watchable. Crisp details and well delineated definition meld well with inky blacks and colors that pop. Just about reference, I think you will find it hard pressed to find much wrong with the on screen imagery. The lossless audio does what a track for this type of film should, create a spooky atmosphere utilizing surrounds for chills and lfe for punch. Dialogue was always discernible and the front soundstage seemed well mixed. All of that was great, but there were a few times when things seemed awkward and slightly, for lack of a better term, boxy.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Scott Stewart, Producer Jason Blum, Executive Producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones & Editor Peter Gvozdas

  • (HD) Alternate and Deleted Scenes

  • UV Copy

  • DVD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Dark Skies disappointed. It could have been really good, as it tried for mental chills and paranoia over gore and excess, however, its blatant rip-offs and lazy writing put the nail in the proverbial coffin. Great video and well designed audio help move things along, so fans will be very happy. I suggest a rental if interested.


Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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post #2 of 12 Old 05-29-2013, 12:19 AM
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I rented the DVD and liked the film, seemed like the topic was well researched. How else do we explain how so many people go missing wink.gif It adds to the experience while watching to consider it - each day over 2000 people in the U.S. disappear to never be heard from again. Good basis for some scary movies.

Thought the LFE was well done but could have had some more and the surrounds could have been more active to get the spine tingling.

To me it was better than Paranormal Activity and Sinister. I think if it had involved more than one family and had a good dose of CGI action/violence it would be better received.
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-31-2013, 12:02 AM
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I watched it last night...I liked the picture and audio but the movie was pretty bad. The scene with J. K Simmons was the best part of the movie , I thought, and i can't help but think
somebody wound up in a better place.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-31-2013, 04:23 AM
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Having low expectations I popped this in with the family last night and actually enjoyed it. Thought the video and audio were fine and the story was a bit stronger than I expected.
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-31-2013, 10:11 AM
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Looks like a rental for me. Good review thank you smile.gif
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-31-2013, 10:37 AM
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Far better than expected. Yes, there are comparisons to other films (some better, some worse) but that's practically a given in today's Hollywood. All told, a pretty solid piece of work with one epic jump scare that actually got me, which is a rarity indeed. Definitely worth a rental. smile.gif
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-31-2013, 12:53 PM
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I rented this from Redbox the other night and couldn't have been more bored while watching it. Nothing even remotely creepy in the entire film. Plus the dialogue was unbearably bad throughout the entirety of the film, which is a shame when have decent actors in the film (the little boy excluded). I'm not one to normally complain about plot holes, but Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
for a family who is obviously struggling with money, suddenly they are able to afford to turn their security system back on AND afford a 6 camera IR setup to find out what's going on.

Overall, I wouldn't even recommend a rental. I did find the video pleasing but somewhat expected a bit more from the audio. It was engaging, but I just felt they relied on cheesy sound effects too much.

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post #8 of 12 Old 05-31-2013, 09:36 PM
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Nice review. Its too bad this movie was a disappointment. Ill prolly rent it to check out the audio and video tho. Maybe ill like it.

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post #9 of 12 Old 06-02-2013, 04:24 AM
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I liked this movie and think it's worth a rental. A few very creepy scenes. Refreshing that it is not an action fest. The video was noise free and very sharp.
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-02-2013, 06:48 AM
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I gave up on this 1 right at around the 1 hour mark. mad.gif

I think your take on this 1 pretty much summed it up for me as well Lee.
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post #11 of 12 Old 06-17-2013, 01:08 PM
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I thought it had some good LFE which tried to add to the "suspense".

Too bad there wasn't a better story.
I'd say it's worth a rental - but absolutely no replay value.
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post #12 of 12 Old 06-29-2013, 04:42 PM
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I loved the movie i would watch it again
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