Lance and Rachel are two survivors in a near future where a virus has turned people into strange, bloodthristy creatures. They hide in the woods while Lance tries to find the creature's leader to end it all. Soon a relationship blooms between Lance and Rachel, and it helps them in their quest for survival.
There are times when you watch a film that isn't necessarily a bad movie, but just very rough around the edges. "The Sky Has Fallen" is a movie like that. It's reeks of a first-effort, but still a first-effort made by someone with talent. I don't mean that debut features are bad or stink more than other films, not at all, but there can be several things giving it away. And I think with this film there are several things like that. But at the same time Doug Roos has also proven to me with this effort that he's capable to create a moody drama/horror, and I can only imagine how much better his second and third features will be.
"The Sky Has Fallen" lost me early on. The story isn't very complicated as it's a post-apocalyptic story where a virus is turning people inte zombie-like creatures, and we're following a man named Lance who is equipped with a sword. He slashes through creatures in his quest to find their leader, and to end his life once and for all. On his quest he meets Rachel, a damsel in distress. The two of them join forces and here's where the second plot kicks in - the relationship. They soon find more in each other than companions, and a lot of focus is put on the two of them and their past. I think this is great - horror and drama mixes perfectly together, but sadly for this film I couldn't take it seriously enough for the drama to actually draw me in. This would work better as a straight on survivor story, with more focus on action than the dialogue.
"This grumpy reviewer can't watch a movie with dialogue - go back to your torture porn, asshole!". Yes, I am ready for comments on that kind, but it doesn't mean it's right. I love dialogue-driven films, but it's not always the right choice. The problem in "The Sky Has Fallen" is that the actors can't really convince me, and the editing is a big part of this as well. Most dialogues are stale, without much feeling or reactions, and the editing made the delivery far from tight. The problem with the editing is present in large parts of the film as well, where something happens and then they just insert a reaction shot (or rather, an actor giving a look). Works at times, but a lot of the times it doesn't.
That the film is heavy on the drama is great, that makes it stand out a bit. Perhaps it should've just been a fun, simple splatterfest, and maybe it'd be more memorable that way. But with the route they chose, they showed more balls. Yes, it's more brave to make a movie like this into a love-story of sorts, than it is to show more violence. So in that sense I am very glad that they did that.
As for the action/violence/creatures/FX/and-all-that, it's okay. I think the creatures would've looked fantastic hadn't the look of the film been so amateurish. And I mean that in how it looks like they just filmed the movie and then kept whatever look the camera gave it. I think a little filtering, messing around with contrasts, etc. helps a lot. In this case it could've sold the make-up, which is still an okay look just very obviously fake. You can expect lots and lots of blood splattering on trees, faces and the ground though, so bring your rain coat! It's more splatter than gore, but that doesn't really matter very much. It's rather charming, actually.
The look of the film isn't just a problem when it comes to the FX. It was also a problem with flashbacks and dreams. It's extremely hard to seperate the scenes when it looks as if it's the same scene. Had it changed look (and maybe location) a bit, then it wouldn't have been a problem at all. Luckily it was pretty spelled out whenever it was a flashback so you probably won't be confused. It did bother me to some extent, however. I suppose that's one of the "obvious first-effort" things, right?
I will end the review in the same way I started it: "The Sky Has Fallen" isn't necessarily a bad movie. It's very flawed, but I would say that two movies into the future Doug Roos will be making something much more up my alley. Outside of some splatter scenes (that were a bit repetitive) you get lots of walking and talking. This film is very rough around the edges and ultimately works as an okay movie with much larger ideas than they could execute. Aiming high is great, sure, but in the end I have to be honest with my opinion on the outcome.