Scott Stewart’s Dark Skies — a tepid attempt at making an alien abduction yarn into a Paranormal Activity movie (a dubious enough notion at best) — is a boring little movie that serves one, and only one, useful purpose: It makes last week’s other opening movie, Snitch, seem slightly less awful. You can tart it up (if that’s the term) with all manner of Paranormal Activity home-security cam guff, but it’s still just basic alien abduction claptrap. The same sort of nonsense can be seen in all manner of speculation TV shows every day of the week. Here we have a downwardly mobile upper-middle class family — headed by B-listers Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton — who are already in dire straits thanks to the job market (the movie wants to be timely). The last thing they need are pesky aliens, especially pesky aliens that eat all the produce in their refrigerator. Soon the aliens are making artistic arrangements of canned goods, tripping the burglar alarm, interfering with the image on the surveillance camera, ringing the doorbell and running — that sort of thing. If you’re still awake, there’s other jiggery-pokery, most of which you saw in the trailer, before mom figures it all out on the internet and comes up with an expert who can help. Said bargain basement Art Bell is conveniently local and is played by J.K. Simmons with all the conviction he brings to his insurance commercials, and he’s still the best thing in the movie. Absolutely nothing happens here that you haven’t seen done before — and better — elsewhere. Its biggest sin is simply that it has too much of the same old stuff. It’s not even bad enough to work up the enthusiasm to dislike. It’s simply mediocre and boring — and that’s ever so much worse.
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