Enter Sandman, as Metallica invokes, or a gangly gray proxy in the sci-fi film "Dark Skies."
Suburbanites Lacy (an engaging Keri Russell) and Daniel (natural Josh Hamilton) start to notice behavior beyond ’tween angst in their boys Jesse (Dakota Goyo) and Sam (Kaden Rockett), who names his bogeyman Sandman. This being now, the family has money problems due to lost jobs, plus nosy neighbors who attribute extraterrestrial interference as a need for child protective services to investigate the family’s bruisings, brandings and itchy implants.
The movie references the playful kitchen shenanigans from "Poltergeist" and our tech-age over-reliance on nanny cams as shown in "Paranormal Activity," whose producers worked on this film too. The script has a "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" feel as well, including screws being untwisted from the inside out, although here the intriguing premise is that we humans are at the end of an alien experiment rather than at the start.
Just as things are getting extra weird - photos disappearing from frames, suicidal starlings, and kiddie drawings of insect-like and reptilian visitors - genial J.K. Simmons shows up as otherworldly expert Edwin, with a questionnaire to help answer the family’s repetitive questions about their blackouts: what were we doing in the kitchen/bedroom/outside?
Turns out they’re lab rats, with hidden hostiles more interested in "dividing and isolating ... than destroying our monuments." The invasion has already happened, and like everything else being thrown at modern Americans - including real-life abductions and returns in Cleveland - now we’ve also got to be alert to "signs you’ve been chosen" and that "we are not alone" (which also includes some DVD special features: alternate and extended scenes, and feature commentary).
Heed Metallica’s James Hetfield when he says, "Hush little baby, don’t say a word, And never mind that noise you heard, It’s just the beast under your bed, In your closet, in your head."
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