“What kind of movie is it?”
A simple question, best answered simply. In describing Darkening Sky, “A horror/thriller with elements of sci-fi” comes close, and seems to be the approach being taken in marketing the film. But I prefer, “A psychological thriller wrapped in a story about alien abduction.” A bit narrower, yes, but more accurate. Darkening Sky actually has more in common with Shutter Island or Black Swan than, say, Communion or Fire In The Sky (or more recently, The Fourth Kind). Yes, there are wild UFO theories, and even aliens, but to call it a movie about alien abduction would be like calling Black Swan a movie about ballet (spoiler alert?).
Darkening Sky was conceived with the idea that people who do horrible things usually don’t regard themselves as horrible. For them, their actions and responses might seem perfectly reasonable. Or at least defensible, given the circumstances. So, what if a man obsessed with proving something false (i.e., alien abduction) was forced to deal with circumstances that left no other possible explanation? And what if that obsession was a bit more — let’s say, “complicated” — than he is letting on? That sounded like fun to me! And that’s the story I tried to tell.
Which brings us to the problem of Expectations. Mixing genres is all well and good, but once a film is released to the wild for viewing byeveryone, it introduces the potential problem of building anticipation for one thing, but delivering something else. Managing expectations is of course easier when millions of dollars are being thrown at marketing. But a little indie film might understandably have a tougher time of it. Fair enough. So far, early reviewers of Darkening Sky seem willing to critique the movie on its own merits, which is great. One thoughtful reviewer described it as, “…mixing that genre [ufos] with another which shall remain nameless so that I don’t spoil the movie.” Well put! And no spoiler necessary.