Dark Skies (film)

Dark Skies is a 2013 American science fiction horror film, written and directed by Scott Stewart, produced by Jason Blum, and starring Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, and J. K. Simmons.[3][4]

Dark Skies
Theatrical release poster
Directed byScott Stewart
Produced byJason Blum
Couper Samuelson
Jeanette Brill
Screenplay byScott Stewart
StarringKeri Russell
Josh Hamilton
Dakota Goyo
Kadan Rockett
J. K. Simmons
Music byJoseph Bishara
CinematographyDavid Boyd
Edited byPeter Gvodas
Distributed byDimension Films
Release date
  • February 22, 2013 (2013-02-22) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$3.5 million[2]
Box office$26.4 million[2]

The film was released on February 22, 2013.


The Barrett family—mother Lacy, father Daniel, older son Jesse, and younger son Sammy—reside on a quiet suburban street in an unnamed American city. Daniel is currently unemployed, placing the burden of supporting the family on Lacy, who works as a real estate agent. Their two sons enjoy a happy relationship and communicate with each other from their beds via walkie-talkie.

A number of strange occurrences befall the family. During the night, the contents of the kitchen are rearranged in bizarre configurations. The house alarm is set off when it detects that all entry points were breached simultaneously. Sammy suffers a fit while playing soccer and Lacy is shocked when hundreds of birds suddenly crash into the house. One night, Lacy is awakened by a sound from Sammy's room. When she goes to check on him, through the darkness she sees a figure standing over his bed. She turns on the light to find an empty room. Sammy is found walking away from the house but cannot remember leaving. Lacy, Daniel and Jesse each suffer catatonic episodes and regain consciousness with no memory of their experiences. Strange symbols are found on Jesse and Sammy's bodies.

Greatly disturbed by the various phenomena afflicting the family and the house, Lacy begins to search online for answers and finds articles attributing some of what they have experienced to UFOs and reports of alien abduction. Daniel installs security cameras throughout the house. He reviews the night's footage and frame-by-frame analysis reveals three dark figures standing over their beds as they slept. Now believing that there is an extraterrestrial force at work, Lacy and Daniel seek the help of a specialist, Edwin Pollard, who calls the beings "the Greys." Pollard informs them that many others have suffered the same fate as the Barretts, with most cases ending in a child abduction. Edwin warns the Barretts that the person who the Greys first show interest in is usually the one who is abducted and that they should be highly protective of Sammy, who he believes has been "chosen."

Daniel buys a shotgun while Lacy buys an aggressive guard dog. The family spend July 4 boarding up the windows of the house, then eat dinner and reminisce about happier times. Suddenly, the house lights begin to flicker and the dog starts barking ferociously. Lacy sends the boys upstairs and stands guard outside the door. Lacy hears the TV in her bedroom turn on. She walks towards it, unaware of a being standing directly behind her, and becomes trapped in her room. Daniel gets Jesse and Sammy into his and Lacy's room where they barricade themselves in and huddle together on the bed. The TV begins to flicker again and the beings – now revealed to be Greys – materialize in the room. Jesse blacks out and experiences a hallucination in which his father commits suicide while standing over his mother's bloodied body. Seeing his brother, Jesse chases after Sammy before reawakening in the upstairs hallway of his house. The Greys appear in front of him and he disappears with them in a flash of light, the rest of the family powerless to help.

Three months later, Lacy and Daniel are suspects in Jesse's disappearance case and have moved into an apartment. Pollard balefully cuts out a newspaper article about Jesse's disappearance and hangs it on his wall with other pictures of missing children. As Lacy is going through old things, she finds pictures that Jesse drew as a child that shows the Greys surrounding him. She belatedly realizes that it was Jesse, not Sammy, in whom the Greys first showed interest, and that he was the one who had been chosen. Feedback then emanates from a nearby walkie-talkie as Lacy and Sammy both hear Jesse's faint voice calling Sammy's name.



Production commenced on August 3, 2012.[5] Filming locations included Los Angeles and Valencia, CA (College of the Canyons).[6] The film was directed by Scott Stewart,[7] and produced by Jason Blum,[8][9][10] Jeanette Brill, and Couper Samuelson.[11] The film's screenplay, written by Stewart,[11] took about six weeks to complete.[12]


Dark Skies was released in the United States on February 22, 2013[13][14] and in the United Kingdom on April 5, 2013.[15]


Dark Skies received mixed reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 41% rating, based on reviews from 92 critics, with the site's critical consensus being: "Dark Skies writer director Scott Stewart has a solid cast, an interesting premise, and some admirable ambitions, but he can't figure out what to do with any of them, and the result is a dull, muddled effort that will bore all but the most devoted horror buffs."[16] Metacritic gives the film a score of 50 out of 100, based on reviews from 19 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[17]

Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post gave the film two out of four stars, and wrote that "[t]he movie builds a moderate, if less than monumental, level of spookiness, regardless of your ignorance. It’s a workmanlike piece of suspense."[18] In a moderately favourable review for The New York Times, Andy Webster praised the film for the "consummate dexterity" with which it employs worn-out horror devices.[19]

Home media

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 28, 2013.


  1. "DARK SKIES (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2013-02-25. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
  2. "Dark Skies (2013)".
  3. Adam Chitwood (April 4, 2012). "Horror Round-Up: Maria Bello Eyeing HOUSE OF HORROR; Keri Russell in Talks for DARK SKIES". Collider. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  4. "Dark Skies". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  5. Kroll, Justin (July 31, 2012). "Josh Hamilton peers at 'Dark Skies'". Variety. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  6. "Dark Skies (2013) Full Production Credits". New York Times. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  7. Schillaci, Sara (August 3, 2012). "Octavia Spencer Adds 'Baggage Claim'; McDermott Thrown In 'Freezer'; Terrence Howard Has 'A Girl And A Gun'; Goyo Looks To 'Dark Skies'". The Film Stage. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  8. "Keri Russell Cast in Supernatural Thriller Dark Skies for Director Scott Stewart". Beyond Hollywood. July 9, 2012. Archived from the original on August 28, 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  9. Erbland, Kate (February 14, 2013). "Love horror films? Chat live with 'Dark Skies' mega-producer Jason Blum today". msn. Archived from the original on February 18, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  10. Heritage, Stuart (November 28, 2012). "Dark Skies trailer: pretty normal activity for Jason Blum". The Guardian. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  11. "Dark Skies (2013) Movie Info". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  12. "Interview with "Dark Skies" Producer Jason Blum". Nerdist. February 4, 2013. Archived from the original on October 20, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  13. David Trumbore (October 4, 2012). "New Release Dates for Shawn Levy's THE INTERNSHIP, PARANOIA, DEAD MAN DOWN, DARK SKIES, BEARS and ADMISSION Starring Tina Fey". Collider. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  14. Uncle Creepy (February 5, 2013). "You Are Not Welcome to this Dark Skies TV Spot". Dread Central. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  15. de Semlyen, Phil (February 12, 2013). "Exclusive: New Dark Skies Poster". Empire. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  16. "Dark Skies". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  17. "Dark Skies". Metacritic. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  18. O'Sullivan, Michael (February 23, 2013). "'Dark Skies' movie review". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  19. Webster, Andy (February 22, 2013). "Terror in the Suburbs (and Job Market)". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
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