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Director's Statement: Everyday Fears / Inspiration

DARK SKIES is a psychological thriller about a suburban family whose lives become a nightmare when a mysterious alien presence invades their home to prey upon them. In developing the concept, I wanted to take a microcosmic view of the typical alien invasion story. Instead of a large scale global event that we usually see in films, DARK SKIES centers around only one family and the neighborhood in which they live.

My favorite scary movies are the ones that operate mostly in the realm of the psychological, where the boogeyman gives voice to everyday fears. In the case of DARK SKIES, the everyday fears start out as common suburban anxieties. Will I be able to provide for my family? Will I lose my home? Am I raising my children right? Then as the aliens begin to make their presence felt, these same everyday anxieties become nightmarishly severe for our characters. In this regard, the aliens are less a personified antagonist than a force of nature that creates chaos in our lives.


The inspiration for DARK SKIES came from a number of places. I had been thinking about parents that became villains in the public consciousness because they were suspected of committing unprovable crimes against their children, such as Jon Benet Ramsey's parents and Casey Anthony. In most cases, the parents' claims of innocence are met with justified skepticism by the public. That got me wondering, "What if an otherworldly force invaded your home to prey upon your children and no one believed you?" The public skepticism would be understandably even greater toward such parents because the reason would be so unbelievable. But what if the parents were telling the truth? That seemed like a compelling scenario from which to develop a scary story.

For the neighborhood setting, I drew inspiration from my childhood growing up in the suburbs of Northern California in the late 70's and 80's. To me, it seemed like a safe little world behind a veil of protection. But every once in awhile, some tragedy would happen in the neighborhood, a car accident, a domestic dispute, a teen suicide, that would reveal how illusory that veil really was. I wanted to imbue the film with a similar sense of unease.

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