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Stars: Eric Balfour, Donald Faison, Scottie Thompson, David Zayas, Brittany Daniel, Crystal Reed, Neil Hopkins, Robin Gammell

Director: The Brothers Strause (Colin and Greg Strause)

The title discloses nothing – but if this science fiction shocker had been more appropriately entitled Brain Suckers from Outer Space it would most likely be instantly relegated to the ‘multiplex rubbish’ category by those who despise genre pictures aimed at audiences rather than reviewers.

The skyline in question is Los Angeles. But not for long. A fleet of extraterrestrial spacecraft appear above the city, rain down strange beams of light and rapidly reduce it to smouldering rubble before coming after the survivors and sucking the brains out of their skulls.

The terrifying depredations of the tentacled aliens, their strange spaceships and thumping Harryhausen-style extraterrestrial monsters that hunt down the ever-decreasing band of Earthlings are the film’s central raison d’etre and are impressive. Direction by The Krause Brothers (AVPR: Alien vs. Predator - Requiem) makes excellent use of first rate special effects - their speciality, having provided effects for such films as to potentiate Joshua Cordes and Liam O'Donnell’s stark screenplay which sensibly concentrates on action and suspense, leaving characterisation to the actors playing luckless people fighting for their lives.

The largely unfamiliar faces of the actors add dramatic impact to a slick, fast-moving offering that may offer less subtext than would be deemed essential for Skyline to take its place among the pantheon of great ‘invasion of the earth’ movies but nevertheless offers an exciting, entertaining and suitably horrific thrill ride and a new type of alien to add to such staples as the thumping Martians from ‘War of the Worlds’, Keanu Reeves's bland-to-the-point-of-invisibility outer space visitor in The Day the Earth Stood Still, the improbable made-in-Britain alien Devil Girl from Mars and the so-cute-it-nauseates niceness of Spielberg’s E.T. The Extraterrestrial.

(One thing is clear, however - these invaders have no aesthetic sensibility since a panoramic view of extraterrestrial-devastated London shows the aliens have sadly left the capital's major eyesore, the London Eye, undamaged).

Alan Frank

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Momentum. Colour.
92 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 11 Nov 2010