White Sky (2021) Review
White Sky is something of a rarity, it’s a low-budget British alien invasion film that isn’t connected to either Steven M. Smith or Scott Jeffrey. Instead, it’s the work of director Adam Wilson (Crawl to Me Darling) and writer Philip Daay (Crystal’s Shadow, Captors).
It opens like many other films, though, with the leads preparing to go camping. Hailey (Natalie Martins, A Werewolf in England, The Barge People) her boyfriend Josh (Jordan Mcfarlane) and her sister Sienna (Makenna Guyler, A Dark Path, Blood Bags). The trip will also serve as an intervention for Sienna, who is trying to put addiction issues behind her.
While they’re doing that, an alien spaceship transforms the inhabitants of a nearby city into zombie-like creatures. As the trio flees from them, they run into Liam (Ade Dimberline, Edge of Extinction, Bone Breaker). He’s armed, knows the area and seems to know what he’s doing. He may also be a bigger threat than the aliens.
White Sky opens with some nice, if cheaply done, shots of the alien spaceship, That’s also all we’ll see of it. Most of the rest of the film, apart from some odd scenes that seem to take place in an alien hive mind near the end, could pass for a more conventional horror movie. The altered humans act like zombies, some show signs of mutation, but for the most part, they look like zombies as well.
Unfortunately, we don’t get nearly enough scenes of them stalking their prey in the dark forest. White Sky spends much of its running time on the drama between the characters. The relationship between the ex-military Hailey and the laid-back Josh starts to crack under stress. The effects of Sienna’s withdrawal and Liam’s seeming manipulation of her. And the matter of just who he is and what his motives are.
None of this is particularly compelling, and it takes up way too much of White Sky’s hour and forty-five minutes. I can understand putting in extra subplots and unneeded dialogue scenes to pad a film out to feature-length. I don’t like it, but I understand it. But I can’t see the point in using them to push a film past that point. Do they think people pick what they watch by length? “This movie is ten minutes longer than the others. We get more for our money!”
Part of that is offset by the overall grim tone of the film. Much of White Sky has a feeling of hopelessness that, be it due to the aliens, or each other, nobody is getting out of this alive. It added an edge to everything, as it felt like something could go wrong at any moment. It’s a much different vibe than the “it’s looking bad, but we’ll be OK” of most recent invasion films, like Alien Outbreak and Occupation: Rainfall.
White Sky is an acceptable if forgettable alien invasion film that had been improved by a good edit. You can use fast-forward to give it one.
Vision Films will release White Sky to VOD in the US and Canada on October 19th. You can check their website for more information.