An everyday American family with money troubles are harassed by extraterrestrial beings who plan on experimenting and eventually abducting their first contacted host.
Dark Skies is in the vein of Signs (2002), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), The Fourth Kind (2009) Fire in the Sky (1993) and so on. Nevertheless, director Scott Stewart's traditionally shot offering is more reminiscent of Paranormal Activity and Poltergeist (1982) in its format. It's a slow burner, household items are mysteriously stacked, surveillance cameras are set up in the home and the occupants encounters with the 'Greys' become progressively more terrifying each night. Of course they seek help from the local expert played by J.K. Simmons who appears briefly.
The few special effects that are on display are finely done, hollowed out eye sockets, birds smashing into windows, the glimpse of the aliens themselves to name a few. The makeup bruises on the children and nose bleeds are effective. Actress Keri Russell is impressive as the concerned mother, Josh Hamilton is adequate as the doubting father, with both child actors Kadan Rockett and Dakota Goyo doing a good job. There's are a few subplots involving the eldest son teenage struggles, suspected domestic abuse and the family financial troubles which prevent Dark Skies from becoming stale.
Stewart builds the tension nicely throughout and delivers a few jump scares, essentially it's a crafted suburban chillier, with the home-invaders or ghosts antagonists replaced with aliens.
In a genre saturated with really bad films, this is well made - if you like alien mysteries especially from a family perspective this is probably one of the best of the bunch.