Cinepub


31 Days of Horror 11: Dark Skies (2013) by Jamie

Haunted house movies! They’re a Halloween staple what with their ghostly object stacking, ghostly images appearing on CCTV footage and ghostly alien abductions. Yeah, you read that right. Alien abductions. Dark Skies is a haunted house movie where the force behind everything going on are aliens rather than ghosts. The main problem being that the aliens in this film do much the same bullshit that ghosts do in these movies.

In your average haunting movie you can explain away a ghost opening a fridge and throwing all the food on the floor or taking all the canned goods and stacking them as the typical actions of a mischievous spirit. It’s just a poltergeist fucking with people because that’s what poltergeists do. These silly pranks stretch credibility, however, when we are asked to believe that they are the work of beings who have travelled millions of light-years. Are they a race of highly advanced high-school pranksters? What’s going to happen next? Are they going to beam a bag of burning dog shit onto my front porch and ring the doorbell before flying away at the speed of light? Am I going to wake up with several hours of missing time and a wedgie?

And then, after doing these little pranks, the aliens begin to get nasty for no reason other than we’re later told by an expert that this is just how this shit always goes down. Yes, this movie has an expert. In normal haunted house movies it’s a priest, a demonologist or a paranormal investigator. In this movie, it’s another abductee in the form of J K Simmons and he’s here to do what every expert in these movies does. Show up near the end to explain what the force wants, what you might to to avoid your fate and just how small of a chance you have of avoiding it.

In all honesty, I know I’m making it seem as though I hated this movie but I didn’t really. It’s enjoyable enough, it’s just that I resent the film makers trying to make me think this isn’t just another stupid haunted house movie because aliens. It is. It follows the exact same structure as these movies do except where you’d normally have someone say poltergeist or demon, they say Grey. Still, the acting is a notch above your average haunted house movie and I have something of a soft spot for the Greys due to my years of watching the X-Files as a kid. It’s biggest problem is that it does seem to drag in places but if it happened to be on I’d say give it a watch or you could watch the superior ‘Alien Abduction: Incident at Lake County‘ but then I’d recommend that above many things. God I love that movie. Anyway, three pints out of five. Laterz.

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Review: Legion by Jamie

I think I’ve pretty well established that I’m not the religious type on this blog. Still, the idea of religions and their mythologies is an admittedly fascinating topic to me. In the monotheistic religions, the idea various realms of reality warring and trying to one up each other is always an interesting topic to explore. Be it ‘Dogma’ or ‘South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut’, the subject has been explored and generally it keeps me entertained. Today’s film, Legion, is yet another to try and tackle this issue.

The basic premise is thus: God has decided he’s gonna get all Old Testament on humanity and wipe our unworthy species from the face of his creation. The archangel Michael (Paul Bettany), commander of God’s army, has decided that he doesn’t want to exterminate humanity and has a sneaking suspicion that God isn’t exactly 100% committed to the idea either. So he falls from heaven, cuts of his wings and decides to join humanity to fight against the angelic horde and to protect an unborn child that he claims will be the saviour of mankind.

The unborn child is currently residing in the womb of a waitress, Charlie (Adrianne Palichi), working in a diner out in the middle of nowhere with her boss Bob (Dennis Quaid), his son Jeep (Lucas Black) and Percy (Charles S. Dutton), a one-handed chef. Also stuck at these diner are a family with car trouble, father Howard (Jon Tenney), mother Sandra (Kate Walsh) and daughter Audrey (Willa Holland) as well as Kyle (Tyrese Gibson), a dude who needs to make it somewhere else for his divorce court hearing… on Christmas… Ho, ho, ho.

Anyway the shit hit’s the fan, the angelic horde descends and the battle is on. Wait did I say angelic horde? I’m sorry, that’s wrong because you only actually see one angel, the archangel Gabriel who has assumed the role left by Michael as the commander of God’s army. The rest of the army have decided that the best way to go about the extermination of the human race is to inhabit human bodies essentially making them kind of zombie-ish creatures that can speak and seem to have enhanced strength. Of course, it makes sense really. It’s not like you’d want to use those wings or anything. Especially as it turns out later on that those wings are bullet-proof and have razor sharp feathers…

Now there are some mildly cool things in this film. The fight scene between Michael and Gabriel is kinda cool, a flashback in heaven in which thousands of angels fly through the sky is kinda cool and a scene with characters on top of a roof firing guns into the crowds of possessed people who have gathered below is reminiscent enough of a zombie movie to get a pass from me. There’s also some pretty interesting concepts taken from Christian mythology. When Gabriel descends to Earth there is the sound of an almighty horn which is apparently meant to signal the coming of the end times. Still the best two things in this film is when a small possessed child cuts it’s thumbs of and a possessed old lady calls Sandra a ‘fucking cunt.’ Any time a seemingly sweet old lady uses that phrase is pretty fucking cool.

Unfortunately it’s all too little to really make this a film that’s particularly worth watching. I mean, seriously, why the fuck do the angels possess people rather than just fight in their angel forms? Do you know how awesome it would have been to have a huge army of angels flying from the skies to attack people below? Instead what your left with amounts to little more than a second rate zombie film.

Also I’d personally have liked to have seen Hell involved in some way. Maybe whilst God’s army was busy trying to wipe out humanity Satan could have gathered his own army and launched his own assault on Heaven and Earth or something. I don’t know. Maybe it would have been too much. Would have been cool though…

Also the plot is really ploddingly slow at times, pretty much to the point where I got bored for a fair while after the first attack and began just surfing the net on my phone until things started to pick up again. There are also some pretty big plot holes. For example, why is this child so fucking important? Seriously, it’s never explained. It clearly isn’t Jesus’ little brother because why would God be sending his angels to kill it? And if this child can redeem mankind, why does God want it dead? I know he’s has indeed gone a bit Old Testament but there’s surely meant to be some kind of element of forgiveness in him. What I’m saying is God’s just a little out of character from the books and films he’s been in before.

Overall there really are just too many problems with this film. Paul Bettany’s pretty good to be fair but if you wanna see him in a better film from recent times then check out the Darwin bio-pic ‘Creation’ instead. He’s fucking awesome in that and it’s an all around better film. Two pints out of Five. Laterz.




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