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Director's Statement: Visualizing the World
Visually I wanted the film to look and feel grounded and realistic. I had made two highly stylized films previously and for DARK SKIES I eschewed that kind of stylization in favor of character focused realism and a back to basics storytelling approach. I thought if audiences saw the Barretts as real and relatable, then they would be much more scared when bad things started happening to them. To help me achieve this, I brought David Boyd aboard as my cinematographer. David is well regarded for having shot the pilots for the acclaimed TV shows FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, DEADWOOD and THE WALKING DEAD. David is a very actor friendly cameraman who possesses a gift for capturing the poetry and details of everyday life. To prepare for the film, we drew inspiration from the photography of William Eggleston, Stephen Shore and Gregory Crewdson.

Beyond the cinematography, my desire to keep the film realistic and grounded extended into every aspect of the production, especially the production design. We chose to shoot entirely in real locations because I wanted the restrictions real locations imposed to influence the overall aesthetic of the film. This also helped the actors more fully inhabit the lives of their characters, as everything around them was real.


In keeping with the concept that the aliens in the film known as the Greys are more of a force of nature than a physical antagonist, I designed them to be rarely seen and when we do, it's always in silhouette. That required us to adhere to a photographic rule that there was always a strong backlight in the room whenever we were to see them, such as a table lamp or a TV that would justify their silhouette. This approach also helped me play into the truism of scary movies that it's always what you don't see that's scariest.

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