“I’m ready to believe,” skeptical suburban dad Josh Hamilton tells wife Keri Russell; rearranged belongings, sleepwalking spells and mass avian suicide have transformed him into a fledgling Fox Mulder. The real mystery of Dark Skies isn’t who’s pulling the paranormal pranks—it’s lanky visitors from above, not vengeful spirits from beyond—but why Dimension is treating this reasonably effective potboiler like something that should be hidden away at Area 51. Director Scott Stewart (Priest) grounds clichéd material with gravitas: The family’s economic problems rival their extraterrestrial ones, while J.K. Simmons plays it admirably straight as the stock outside-help character (usually an exorcist, here an alien expert). Genre fans should believe in such solid scares—even if the film’s distributor doesn’t.
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