Friday 21 August 2015

Dark Film Review – The Sky Has Fallen

Dark Film Review – The Sky Has Fallen

Written By Casey Douglass

The Sky Has Fallen

Many many films have certainly done the old “the human race is infected and dying, run for the hills!” type plot line, but I'm glad to say that The Sky Has Fallen has a bit more to it than that. Yes, a new disease pretty much axes most of mankind in a few short hours, but there is something even more sinister going on than that. Mysterious black figures are seen by the surviving humans, dragging away the dead or almost dead, and experimenting on them, their screams cutting the night just as knives cut their flesh. See, I said it was more sinister, it doesn't pay to doubt me does it!

The Sky Has Fallen follows the story of Lance (Carey MacLaren) and Rachel (Laurel Kemper), two survivors who cross paths when Lance saves Rachel from an unseen threat one day. Lance is a guy on a mission: to get revenge on the black figures for what they have done and to kill their leader in the hope that it will make all the suffering go away. He does this by the liberal use of a samurai sword and a couple of handguns, and good use he puts them to! Rachel is no damsel in distress herself, the events that have led her to being with Lance no meadow of roses and honeybees. For this is what The Sky Has Fallen seems to be about, two people struggling to find a reason to live ending up finding each other, and the complications this brings with the world in the state that it's in.

The first thing that hits you about the film are the practical effects, every gory swipe of the sword or attack of a creature is squelchy and oozing and nicely enjoyable. The film isn't short of ways this is put to use either, from hearts being wrenched from chests to skin flapping open and limbs being severed. If you have a weak complexion, you will likely struggle with this. On the other hand, the dark robed figures are also ominously threatening even when there isn't carnage on the screen, their watching mind-addling presence not unlike the Ringwraithes in The Lord of the Rings. It is nice to find a film that is equally good at the gore and the subtle stuff. 

There is one particularly good scene where someone is talking about the black robes. The hues of the woodland are garish and strange and all that you see is the silhouette of one of the creatures, before a naughty jump-scare flash but still, a great scene. The film also has a very nice high-quality score to accompany the action, which is something that I particularly enjoyed.

I found the weakest link in the chain to be some of the acting however. Both main characters seemed to be very stiff-faced for the most part and barely reactive to what was going on, in my opinion at least. Rachel cries well in a certain scene and shows a little emotion near the end of the film, but when other atrocities are going on around her she seems strangely blank. Lance too suffered from this, but he did have moments of combat rage and a wry smile in a “teach me some swordplay” scene, as did she. There is also an exchange with another human character that felt very stilted and rushed which just didn't sit that well with me.

The Sky Has Fallen is an enjoyable horror film that gives the viewer plenty to enjoy in its 79 minute run time. The creatures and carnage show a lovely degree of inventive variety and some of the shots were really visceral in a beautiful way. The arc of the story seemed pretty well-paced and the film felt like it was about the right length, if not possibly a shade too long.

I give The Sky Has Fallen 3/5. Enjoyable, but I just couldn't become that emotionally involved with the character portrayal I saw on screen. You can visit The Sky Has Fallen's website here for more info.

I was given free access to a review copy of the film.

Film Title: The Sky Has Fallen
Written and directed by: Doug Roos

Images used in this review are © Copyright Lost Forever Productions