3 StarsThis nightmarish tale dealing with alien abduction is more of the cerebral variety than is the norm for the genre complete with one of the biggest ‘wow’ endings since The Arrival. Rider Strong (Cabin Fever, Boy Meets World) is Eric, a college student obsessed with UFO’s and cultural anthropology. Confronted with the fact that aliens may have abducted his girlfriend, Eric begins a quest to find the truth about the disappearance and a series of strange lights in an ever darkening sky.
Debuting director Victor Bornia is also responsible for the screenplay, which starts strong then becomes hindered by an episodic structure. The entire second and third acts plays like an extended episode of the X-Files or Twilight Zone. Luckily the filmmakers have a capable leading man in Strong, he appears in virtually every scene and his befuddlement in the increasingly eerie situation is palpable. He is supported by Danielle Keaton playing Beth, the goth looking neighbor newly in town to shoot a documentary on the recent sightings. A lot of screen-time is devoted to their evolving partnership and debates on the validity of an alien presence on earth. The pair display good chemistry though their journey of discovery and meetings with peculiar townsfolk come off as too Scooby-Doo-ish.
This production was done on a limited budget and on occasions those constraints are evident. There are only a handful of actors in the entire film and a number of scenes have a flat look that suggests things were done in a hurried manner. Though I must admit after having viewed countless pictures in this particular genre it’s a pleasure to see one stretch outside the conventions imposed by inferior movies. Darkening Sky has ambition, a great score and an effective lead performance to anchor this odd concoction.
Director: Victor Bornia
Stars: Rider Strong, Danielle Keaton, Danica Stewart