Alien invasion movies are always fun and Skyline is a perfect example of one of the better ones. It wastes no time as the opening scene shows strange orbs of light splashing all over the city of Los Angeles. This is the first thing I liked about it, show, don’t fucking tell. And anyone who looks at this light starts getting all weird and fucked up. This sets up the mood for what’s about to follow quite well. And if you’re wondering just how different this movie is, just consider the fact that Battle Los Angeles ended up in the movies so bad they’re good section. And I’m not even going to mention Cloverfield. Ahh sheeeeet.
Featuring a cast mostly comprised of actors that appeared in various television shows (Dexter, Six Feet Under, Scrubs), Skyline shows us what actually might happen if the aliens attacked. People are generally selfish and greedy bastards. And when it comes to life and death situations they will, of course, choose the option to save themselves instead of others. Even if the others are their friends, spouses, or family members. Not to mention that they did not go for the usual alien design, but actually created something original.
This alone should make you check out Skyline. Of course, it has its flaws, but they are too small to be a pain in the ass. Some of the dialogue feels very cheesy and the same can be said about the main plot. However, excellent special effects and that juicy atmosphere make up for that and then some. I just can’t get over how good this relatively small movie looks. And there will be some pretty nasty scenes here, dangerously close to body horror.
I understand that the PG-13 rating makes for a better profit margin but I still wonder what would happen if they went with a full-on R rating. I also want to point out the fact that Strause brothers are also accomplished special effects guys. Apart from this movie, they’ve only directed AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem. Now, the visuals there were also terrific but the story and characters not so much.
Jarrod and his girlfriend Elaine, are in Los Angeles to visit his old friend Terry and his wife. Of course, as it always happens when two old friends meet after a long time, Terry throws a big party in his awesome apartment with all the things that go with it. In the morning, along with a hangover they wake up to the most unusual sight they have ever seen, strange lights in the sky. Still not knowing what is going on, their friend Ray starts staring at the lights and then suddenly disappears…
Skyline strikes a perfect balance between a contained story about several friends and much bigger happenings around the city and the entire world. The pacing is pretty fast and the storytelling is spot-on as the situation keeps escalating. I already mentioned the design of the aliens but their spaceships look tight as fuck too! And you can feel that the Strause brothers know how to set up a scene. For example, the one where they appear from the clouds looks like it belongs in a much bigger movie.
The atmosphere is intense and hopeless, just as it should be, with small rays of hope piercing through the dark clouds. This isn’t Independence Day but more of a War of the Worlds type of situation. And that ending was something else, quite unexpected but still very fitting. Finally, you should know that Skyline spawned two sequels, Beyond Skyline, and Skylines. The story picks up right after the events from this movie, so you can watch all three movies in succession, like some really cool tv show. And if you still want more, check out our Rabbit Reviews collection of Alien Invasion Movies.
Directors: Colin Strause, Greg Strause
Writers: Joshua Cordes, Liam O’Donnell
Cast: Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, David Zayas, Donald Faison, Brittany Daniel, Neil Hopkins
Fun Facts: Filming only cost $500,000, while the digital effects cost an additional $10 million.