Dark Skies [Blu-Ray] Scott Stewart

Dark Skies [Blu-Ray] Scott Stewart
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Not many people are artistic geniuses. Those of us who aren't tend to benefit from ceding control on elements of a creative endeavour we're not so well-versed in to people who are. Scott Stewart (ditching his middle initial, which signifies a transformation of intent), after micro-managing two farcical misfires (Legion and Priest), has finally realized this. In shedding a little ego and trusting in his producers and crew, Stewart has found a mature and effective voice as a filmmaker. Where before he came across as an overeager pre-teen desperate to play with the big boys, the Scott Stewart that directed Dark Skies is a confident professional dealing with adult themes while milking a great deal of production value out of a modest budget. Hampered by a trailer that made it look generic and campy, Dark Skies is actually a moody atmospheric thriller that stitches together its own take on the well-worn horror trope of an insidious force ripping a family apart. Keri Russell (Waitress) and Josh Hamilton (Margaret) play Lacy and Daniel Barrett, a suburban American couple bickering over financial strife. Their two sons, Jesse (Dakota Goyo, Reel Steal) and Sam (Kadan Rockett), can feel the tension boiling over and an emotional response to that familial unrest is what a local cop suggests is at fault when a series of bizarre events befall the struggling family. Stewart wisely keeps the antagonist(s) concealed for a good portion of the film, gradually ratcheting up a sense of dread that grows to permeate every frame while we become familiar with the various psychological wedges working to isolate each family member. For Lacy and Daniel, it's the fear of failing as parents; for young Sam, it's a fear of abandonment; and for Jesse, right on the cusp of puberty, it's the alienating feeling of sexual awakening. Originally, the film had an even darker ending, which can be seen accompanied by explanatory commentary from Stewart and editor Peter Gvozdas. This reflective process is afforded to all of the deleted and alternate scenes. Dark Skies isn't a movie dependent upon special effects or fancy visual trickery, so the lack of production features is understandable. The only other piece of bonus content is a feature commentary with Stewart and Gvozdas, along with producer Jason Blum and executive producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones. Everyone involved is so forthcoming about the nuts and bolts of getting a production like this off the ground that it's one of the rare commentaries compelling and informative enough to warrant watching all the way through. With Insidious, Sinister and now Dark Skies, Blumhouse is becoming a reliable banner for quality horror. (eOne)