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To date, Blumhouse Productions has spawned such spooky suburban horror movies as Paranormal Activity, Sinister and Insidious. For their next frightening thriller, their freaky formula gets a science-fiction twist. Written and directed by Scott Charles Stewart, Dark Skies centers on the Barretts, a family who is normal in every possible way…until they're not. Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton star as Lacey and Daniel Barrett, who are forced to confront a mysterious and dangerous force that marks their son, terrorizes their house, and makes them both lose control.
Take a look at Dark Skies's first trailer below, that also features J.K. Simmons as a harried paranormal expert.
A visual effects artist turned director, Stewart got a lot of flack for his previous over-the-top offerings Legion and Priest, which both blended horror elements with buttloads of CGI action. They were generally loathed by critics, and only the former was a box office success. Personally, I enjoyed Legion for all its outlandishness, but think it's a smart move on Stewart's part to scale back and show what he can do without the reliance on visual spectacle that is his background. The mood in this trailer is far more restrained than either of his previous films, and that suits the claustrophobic nature of haunting narratives. Of course, the final jump scare suggests this is not a haunting at all.
Though there are plenty of nods to classic horror tropes—the kitchen disturbances of poltergeist tales, the physical marks left by demons, the violent birds of i>The Birds--there are a couple of hints to something otherworldly going on here. For one, there's the title, which though the film has no connection 1990s TV series does seems to suggest extraterrestrial involvement. Then there's overwhelming, eerie white lights invading doorways, and of course the familiar alien silhouette at the trailer's end. Will audiences be drawn in by this twist on the typical suburban horror story? We'll find out when Dark Skies opens on February 22, 2013.