Judge Clark Douglas hopes that any aliens he encounters aren't quite so obnoxious.
Once you've been chosen, you belong to them.
And now, an imagined conversation between Dark Skies writer/director Scott Stewart and producer Jason Blum.
Scott Stewart: "Hey, man. Thanks for taking the time to hear about my idea."
Jason Blum: "No problem. So tell me what you've been working on."
SS: "Well, it's a horror movie."
SS: "Yeah, I heard that! That's actually why I wanted to meet with you."
JB: "Oh yeah?"
SS: "My movie…is all of your movies."
JB: "How do you mean?"
SS: "I mean, it takes the stuff people like from all of these movies and stuffs it into one movie. Plus more stuff."
JB: "Whoa. Are you serious?"
SS: "Serious as a man who just realized he built his house on top of an old Indian burial site."
JB: "Okay, so give me your pitch."
SS: "Well, it's about a family."
JB: "Are they gonna get terrorized?"
JB: "Good. Continue."
SS: "So, the movie opens with some shots of an ordinary American neighborhood. Everything's good, everybody's having fun, life is peaceful, etc."
JB: "Because later, things aren't going to be so good."
SS: "Right! So it's luring the viewer into a sense of false security."
SS: "So anyway, this family: there's a mom played by Keri Russell—she was the waitress in Waitress—and there's a dad played by Josh Hamilton."
JB: "Who's he?"
SS: "He's been in stuff. I think he was in J. Edgar."
JB: "Was he the boyfriend?"
SS: "No, that's Arnie Hammer."
JB: "Oh. Is he as handsome as Arnie Hammer?"
SS: "Yeah, I guess."
JB: "Nice. Continue."
SS: "So, they have two kids—both boys—and they're just ordinary kids. So the first twenty or thirty minutes is just, y'know, family stuff."
JB: "Family stuff?"
SS: "Like, they pay bills and talk and fight and hug and stuff."
SS: "Oh, and the dad is looking for a job, because y'know, the economy and everything, so we want to be relevant."
JB: "Is this movie about the economy?"
SS: "I'm just kinda throwing it out there. But yeah, sure."
JB: "So when does the family get terrorized?"
SS: "Oh, yeah, that happens next. Crazy things start happening around the house. Furniture gets re-arranged, house alarms get set off for no reason, photographs get erased—there's like a bunch of that stuff, and it escalates each time."
JB: "And they try to look for a natural explanation first, right?"
JB: "And eventually they come to realize it has to be something crazy?"
JB: "But nobody believes them?"
JB: "Is there security camera footage of freaky stuff happening?"
SS: "Oh, yeah. Like fifteen minutes of the movie is just the dad looking at security camera footage."
JB: "Excellent. So what happens next?"
SS: "Well, the family is still trying to figure out what's going on, so…"
JB: "So they call in an expert who everybody thinks is crazy but who actually has a bunch of helpful tips on how to deal with this unexplainable supernatural stuff?"
JB: "And he's played by a character actor who can come in and deliver a bunch of exposition and not make it too boring, right?"
SS: "Yeah. J.K. Simmons."
JB: "Nice! My kids love Harry Potter."
SS: "No, this is the guy from those insurance commercials."
JB: "Oh, yeah, those are fun. Mayhem!"
SS: "No, the other guy."
JB: "Ohhhh, yeah. The farmer."
SS: "Close enough."
SS: "So, anyway, they finally figure out what the supernatural stuff is…"
JB: "It's all in the mom's head and she's not really married and she's in a mental hospital at the end and it was all a dream inspired by the loss of her children?"
SS: "Um, no. It's actually aliens."
JB: "Aliens! Wait, how much is this going to cost?"
SS: "Not much. You don't really see 'em or anything. They kind of just wander in and out of the house and make security camera footage all static-y."
JB: "Oh. So they're like ghosts?"
SS: "Right. But actually aliens."
SS: "And during the final act, we put some more symbolism and stuff in there—a bunch of patriotic anthems, you know, to give the whole thing resonance."
JB: "Wait…are these aliens supposed to represent illegal aliens trying to invade America?"
SS: "Um…I don't really…I mean, I guess if you want them to be."
JB: "That's edgy, man, really edgy."
SS: "Cool. Thanks."
JB: "Well, I have to say, I like what I'm hearing so far. It sounds pretty much like a bunch of other horror movies that have done well at the box office, and I like that. Just a few more questions."
JB: "Does the ending give us room to make sequels?"
SS: "Already working on Darker Skies."
JB: "Can we make it for less than $5 million?"
JB: "Will it look good on Blu-ray?"
SS: "Gonna have a 1080p/2.40:1 transfer that will look freaking fantastic. Great detail, depth, shadow delineation—a rock-solid transfer all around."
JB: "Will the audio rock the house?"
SS: "The DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio track is gonna be super-immersive and nuanced. Impressive on every level."
JB: "Is there gonna be a bunch of bonus features?"
SS: "I was thinking the two of us could do a commentary. Maybe get editor Peter Gvozdas and executive producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones to get in there with us, too. Plus some alternate scenes. And maybe a DVD for the old folks and a digital copy for the young folks."
JB: "Cool. Well, I'm on board."
SS: "Awesome! Thanks."
JB: "Hey, not that it matters, but what kind of critical response do you think it's gonna get?"
SS: "I mean, if I had to guess, the average critic would probably say that it's a run-of-the-mill horror movie that is competently crafted but doesn't offer anything new."
JB: "Exactly what I wanted to hear!"
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