Dark Skies review

Prepare yourself for a close encounter of the least original kind

An ordinary American family with money troubles. Strange noises at night. A young child talking to someone nobody else can see. Animals acting weird. Half-glimpses of shadowy figures that disappear when the lights are turned on. Alarms being tripped despite the fact that all of the doors and windows are still locked.

As you can probably guess from the above, the biggest problem with Dark Skies is that it doesn't really have an original idea to call its own. Instead, it's little more than a collection of concepts and scenes we've already experienced over and over again in horror films from Poltergeist to Insidious. The only difference is that this time around they're being pressed into the service of a tale of alien abduction – and not a particularly scary one at that.

Picture: Dark Skies splits its time pretty evenly between brightly-lit suburban exteriors and shadowy night interiors. The AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode on EntertainmentOne's Blu-ray release handles both equally well.

During the daylight scenes, splashes of colour look bold and inviting and detailing is fine enough to pick out individual blades of grass in the perfectly manicured lawns. When darkness falls the excellent black levels and contrast come into their own, filling the screen with bold shadows without compromising on the overall clarity and sharpness.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: This Blu-ray beams down with a well-balanced DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that specialises in deep, foreboding bass effects. Dialogue is also very cleanly rendered, even during the noisiest moments. The only downside is that there are so many scenes where so little happens that the surround speakers really don't get the chance to shine like you might hope – a real pity considering how effective the directional effects are when things finally reach a head in the film's finale.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: We can only presume that aliens have abducted most of the bonus features made to support this film, as this Blu-ray release really doesn't have too much on offer.

Writer/director Scott Stewart, producer Jason Blum, executive producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and editor Peter Gvozdas provide a fairly interesting commentary track that touches on all of the usual production details while also throwing up some intriguing anecdotes (such as the fact that the film was originally planned to be yet another entry in the 'found footage' genre). Also on offer are 11 deleted scenes, including an alternate ending.
Extras rating: 1.5/5

We say: All traces of originality have been abducted from this predictable and bland alien thriller

Dark Skies, EntertainmentOne, Region B BD, £20 Approx