The Halloween season is finally here, and tons of horror movies are getting released just in time for the iconic celebrations. ‘White Sky’ is one of those titles that will definitely scare the pants off of its viewers and serve some old-fashioned terrifying moments. This low-budget British alien invasion film is directed by ‘Crawl to Me Darling’ director Adam Wilson from a script penned by Philip Daay, the scribe best known for the gripping tale ‘Crystal’s Shadow, Alone.’ ‘White Sky’ was filmed on location in Wales during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and is available to stream on all major platforms and on DVD from October 19.
This horror flick stars Natalie Martins, the blonde from ‘A Werewolf in England,’ as Hailey, Jordan McFarlane as her boyfriend Josh, as well as Makenna Guyler from the ‘Blood Bags’ who plays her sister Sienna, a recovering drug addict. There is also Ade Dimberline from another survival flick, ‘Bone Breaker’ as Liam and Malcolm Winter and Danielle Shurey, who play the altered.
The film opens like many other films in the genre. Hailey, Josh, and Sienna pack up for a camping trip which Sienna isn’t interested in, but Natalie insists it’s a way of helping her unwind and focus on other things as she recovers from her addiction. The camping locale is deep into the thick woods, and the threesome is ready to set up when an alien ship that transforms every single person in the area into zombie-like creatures. To save themselves from being turned into brain-hungry maniacs, they start to flee into the neighboring city.
Along the way, they encounter Liam, who is armed to the teeth and seems to know his way around the infected area. He also seems to know what he’s doing, which is quite comforting considering he isn’t one of the zombies or an ally of the extra-terrestrials, or so do the other three hope. But he is pretty bossy and insists that the three follow his guidance and rules to the T, something that coats this loner with some mystery that makes him seem like an even more significant threat compared to the aliens.
There aren’t many shots happening in or around the alien spaceship besides the ones that introduce the vessel to the audience when the unannounced visitors make their first landing. Most of the scenes are basically packed with conventional horror films apart from a few shots that take place in an alien hive mind towards the end of the movie.
The walking dead physically live to their name, so props to the costume and make-up departments and actors portraying these nasties are also convincingly authentic. Unfortunately, there are just a few scenes, hardly enough, where the viewer gets to see these creatures stalking their prey. There are barely any people left anywhere anyway, considering almost everyone was turned into their kind, and they wouldn’t eat each other, though that would be interesting to see.
For the better part of its plot, ‘White Sky’ spends a lot of time bringing out and expounding on the drama amongst the characters. Things get crazy as the survival instinct kicks in amongst the surviving few. They all embody different personalities. Hailey is ex-military, which means she is highly trained in combat and survival skills; Josh is pretty laid back. Before long, the relationship between these two lovers starts to crumble under the pressure of getting to the other side well and alive. There is also Hailey’s sister Sienna. She is a recovering addict.
With all the craziness and scary stuff happening around her, without her go-to calming portion, she starts to exhibit withdrawal behavior. Then there is the stranger the trio meets in the wood, Liam. He is a bit of a shady character and takes Sienna’s vulnerability to manipulate her, and the uncertainty of exactly who he is, where he’s from, and what his motives her enhance the lack of trust amongst the team.
The overall tone of the film is well done. To some extent, it compensates for the lack of meat and interesting turns, twists, and surprises in the narrative. The film’s overall feeling is that of hopelessness with all the aliens and the zombies and the struggle to stay alive. From looking at the visuals and the score, one gets that eerie feeling that anything can go wrong at any moment. It gives a kind of different vibe from what audiences are accustomed to say in ‘Alien Outbreak’ or ‘Occupation: Rainfall.’ Not really exemplary, but okay-ish.
The four leads deliver strong performances, with each actor excellently bringing out their character’s unique story to the forefront, enabling the audience to get to know them better. Natalie is excellent as the authoritative leader who keeps the team in check, Dimberline plays his paranoid shady character with great poignancy and poise, Makenna is astounding as the easily manipulated junkie, while McFarlane is the chilled-out guy in the background.
The aspect of joining forces with strangers in a volatile and uncertain situation is fully displayed in ‘White Sky.’ It clearly shows how difficult it is for people to cope with each other under circumstances where it’s a matter of life and death. It also brings to the light the need to team up for a common goal despite all the different interests, preferences, and personalities with the sole aim of surviving a common enemy. It definitely portrays what happens to human beings in their everyday lives when they encounter a difficult situation in life when they have to put their differences aside and become humans first.
In general, ‘White Sky’ mixes the aspects of an alien movie to those of a horror flick. The audience accompanies the characters as they overcome the challenges, both visible and unseen, with the sole intention of making it out of the dense forest alive. Their patients and personalities are tested, and while there have been better movies of its type made in the cinematic world, ‘White Sky’ is a decent watch if one wants to kill away time.