I have already revealed my passion for horror movies. What I haven’t said before, is that I also love sci-fi films. So when I saw a promo for “Night Skies”, which is based on the well-known “Phoenix Lights” UFO phenomenon, I had to see it.
The movie is supposedly based on a true story of five friends, who on March 13, 1997, on their way to Las Vegas in a RV spy unusual lights in the sky. In their excitement over the strange citing, they accidentally hit a stalled truck in the road. The accident renders both vehicles useless. Lost in the middle of nowhere, with no cell phone working, no vehicle to escape, and one friend injured in the accident, the group is understandably frightened. When the owner of the pickup they struck offers to help their hurt friend, his kindness is met with skepticism by some and with gratitude by others.
After attempts to stop the bleeding of their injured comrade fail, the group decides that two of them should try to locate a phone and call for help. Matt, the abrasive leader of the group is played by George Stults of television “7th Heaven” fame. He volunteers to be one of the onest that goes in search of help. He also insists that Richard, played by Jason Connery, go with him. He does want to leave this ex-soldier, who supposedly tries to save his best friend’s life, alone with his girlfriend (A.J. Cook) or sister (Ashley Peldon).
Although the two strike off together, they quickly get separated and it appears that Richard accidentally shoots Matt after he sees something strange in the woods. Panicked and afraid to leave the women alone, he runs back to the crash site and locks everyone inside the RV. But that is insufficient as aliens quickly break in to pull the helpless humans out one by one.
With only Lily (Cook) and Richard (Connery) left, they decide to make a run for it and head to a cabin that Matt and Richard found in the woods. However, this shelter proves no safer than the RV and the two become prey to the visitors from outer space. What results is a fight for survival between humans and creatures of unearthly origin.
Only one of the six-man group supposedly survived this encounter. He recounted the story of the night’s events only after years of psychiatric treatment and hypnotic regression therapy. His story proves similar in nature to hundreds of other alien encounters by Americans who report being captured, taken aboard alien aircraft, and submitted to experimentation. Whether or not there is any truth to the tale, I cannot say. What I can report, however, is a very frightening story that seems too incredible to be true, but is also too dangerous to simply dismiss.
Although this movie suffered from budget constraints that might have otherwise allowed more leeway in story development, the strange sounds and sights that are used for indicating suspense are appropriately spooky. Additionally, the alien creatures themselves were reasonably impressive for a B rated film. They stayed true to descriptions that have been reported of similar creatures throughout the years.
Make-up artist and special effects supervisor Roy Knyrim also directs this haunting piece. Taking into account the considerable limitations that were placed on his budget, he manages to pull off a pretty solid B film. It’s not great by any stretch of the imagination, but it has its moments. My only complaint is the long pauses that he often used between dialogue. I realize that he was going for dramatic effect. However, instead it made his actors look as if they were struggling to remember their next lines, which is never a good thing!
There is no single star in this film. It was basically an ensemble cast. Connery simply does not impress me as an actor. I have seen two of his most recent movies this week – – “Lightspeed” and “Night Skies.” I found his work in both to be average at best. While I love Stults in his role on television’s “7th Heaven,” his character in this film is just too angry and crude to be likeable. He, therefore, came across as a little lost on how to play the role. Likewise Cook, who is also a credible TV actress, seems lost in the sniveling bitchiness of her character. While Peldon’s supposedly sluty sister is certainly sluty enough, it leaves the audience with the question: Who cares?
“Night Skies” is not likely to be the perfect cup of tea for everyone. I suspect only true lovers of B-rated sci-fi will find it enjoyable. I have certainly seen a lot worse films. Likewise, I’ve seen a lot better. I can only give it two out of five stars, and that is stretching it a bit just because I love sci-fi.
“Night Skies” is a Phantom Planet Film in association with Ringleader Studios and Karza Productions. It is 84 minutes in length and carries an R rating for violence and disturbing accounts of alien experimentation.