Skyline review

Invasion of the idea-snatchers…

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It seems entirely apt that Greg and Colin Strause, the sibling duo who made their directorial debut with Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem, should follow it up with Skyline.

While AVP:R was a misfiring mash-up of two beloved franchises, this boldly carries on the tradition, ransacking everything from Alien³ to The Matrix and Cloverfield. It starts promisingly, mind.

Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and girlfriend Elaine (scottie thompson) awaken when bright blue bolts of light drop from the Los Angeles sky. As Jarrod investigates, he is drawn inexorably towards the light, the veins across his face going more purple than Sir Alex Ferguson’s on a bad day at Old Trafford.

Turns out that an unspecified alien race – bearing an uncanny resemblance to The Matrix’s sentinels – are hovering in the sky, indiscriminately sucking up anyone who stares into the blue glare. What are they?

“Does it even matter?” answers Oliver (David Zayas), the apartment supervisor who joins the couple as they and others attempt to hide out in music-industry man Terry’s (Donald Faison) pad. No, it doesn’t really matter.

Skyline has some terrific visual flourishes, not least the unforgettable shot of hundreds of people being hoovered into the sky. You can almost forgive them scrimping on a second-rate cast.

But after a first half that pulses with promise, the story dissolves quicker than an aspirin, characters picked off so fast it’s impossible to invest any emotion in them.

It’s a slippery slope to the ending, which not only beggars belief but features one of the worst screen kisses you’ll ever see. You’re better off playing Halo.

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Freelance writer

James Mottram is a freelance film journalist, author of books that dive deep into films like Die Hard and Tenet, and a regular guest on the Total Film podcast. You'll find his writings on GamesRadar+ and Total Film, and in newspapers and magazines from across the world like The Times, The Independent, The i, Metro, The National, Marie Claire, and MindFood.