The Sky Has Fallen (2009)


For a movie about the end of the world through an Ebola-like virus that infects people and turns them in to demonic killing monsters that feast on the living, while shadowy specters wait in the darkness carrying off the innocent and the dead, I was surprised at how utterly bored I was through most of this movie. In fact “The Sky Has Fallen” literally had me watching the clock and completely apathetic to its entire premise. As someone who adores almost any movie about the end of the world, director Doug Roos really doesn’t put an argument as to why his movie stands out among a slew of better indie films about the apocalypse and the undead.

Don’t get me wrong, like most indie films of this nature, this is really an ambitious endeavor and one that is not the worst I’ve ever seen, but it really doesn’t stand out among its contemporaries, not even in the slightest. Roos has a massive premise on his hand and one that can barely meet or justify the budget before us. So instead of witnessing most of the aftermath of the apocalypse we’re instead force fed recollection after recollection from the characters about their experiences. The two heroes walk for a while and sit to talk about a story, they walk some more and sit to talk about the carnage, then they walk and sit to talk about the carnage and so on until we’re basically wondering why we’re not seeing anything resembling it in this beautiful forest landscape.

Director Doug Roos is a man with a clear eye for detail and color and makes “The Sky Has Fallen” in to something of an attractive and eye pleasing horror film, one that’s often painted in shades of white and light blues, all the while using the forest as its own presence rather than relying on it to compensate for lack of budget. The editing is often really top notch with tight choreography and barely a hitch in the storytelling and narrative flow. Roos definitely has an ambition and enthusiasm that shines through the production and it shows more times than not. Beyond that the special effects and make up are quite incredible making for some gruesome villains, most of whom have faces that are so mangled and rotting, it’s utterly nauseating at times. Roos and co. were clearly channeling the likes of Lucio Fulci with these designs as zombified monsters with faces so mangled you could barely make out their sexes at times. They make for some really disgusting menaces and they actually manage keep the audience in suspense for most of the movie considering how quiet and fast they tend to be.

The make up is top notch considering the budget Roos works with here, and I just couldn’t stop gasping every time I caught a glimpse at the monsters. The stars Carey McLaren and Laurel Kemper are attractive and interesting, but their characters are never as fascinating as Roos insists they are, all the while their performances leave much to be desire. Every person in the movie speaks in hushed monotones gazing in to space as if this were an Ingmar Bergman picture, and moments pop up that barely make any sense. I never understood the appearance of the dad and his two children. Nevertheless, the actors try their best but can never muster up enough chemistry or friction to make them a believable pair and often times Roos depicts them unevenly. One moment Rachel is completely useless watching and standing around, and another moment she’s roaring from the woods guns blazing and battling zombies. One minute Lance (who… has his own Lance) is a wise Samurai biding his time and smashing monsters, the next he’s falling in to traps and screeching at Rachel to run away.

Which she never does. Roos constantly sets us up for a big death scene only to step back and allow more time for the duo, both of whom have a goal that is never quite apparent. Is Lance trying to stop the source of the infection or the source of the wraiths in the forest? Nonetheless I anxiously tried to involve myself in everything happening before my eyes, but I just couldn’t. The lethargic pacing, followed by the lackluster performances, and uneven story make this an apocalyptic horror film that’s really pretty forgettable, in the end. Director Doug Roos has a definite eye for detail not to mention an ambition, both of which can’t really meet the expectations of a movie that is otherwise lethargic, dull, meandering, and features stiff performances that leave much to be desired. Excellent gore effects aside, “The Sky Has Fallen” won’t change the sub-genre.