I had never heard of this movie before. It’s a semi low-budget movie which was made with 1.5 million dollars. Though, there are elements when watching that one could easily nitpick about, overall the film blew me away. It’s far better than so many mainstream films made with a much larger budget.
The plot surrounds a bunch of friends reuniting for a short vacation in a large home surrounded by the beautiful woods. Robert (Aaron McPherson) and Jenny (Stacy Jorgensen) are the main characters. Jenny is expecting a baby and the duo are celebrating their engagement. That said, the celebration is tainted by Robert’s recent attitude. He disappeared for a week before returning. She took him back, but understandably the trust between the two is minimal, mostly because Robert refuses to discuss where he had gone.
When the two arrive to the house, their friend Michael (Michael Cornacchia) and his boyfriend Brian (Jeff Schuetze) were already waiting. Michael is by far the most eccentric and interesting character. He’s funny, charming and witty. He reminds me of a young version of the late great Jonathan Winters or the amazingly talented Trent Dawson when he played Henry Coleman on As the World Turns. I’d also like to say that this film was able to present a gay couple without playing into any of the stereotypes that are generally shown in movies. Neither was flamboyant. Michael had personality but he wasn’t commenting on fashion or saying god awful phrases like “girlfriend” or “you go girl.” The character was unique and stood out but his sexuality didn’t overtake the film and was not a plot point.
His boyfriend Brian was a background character. He was a photographer and soft spoken. His presence was significant to the storyline but again I loved that they didn’t make him feminine or flashy. I guess the easiest thing to say is that neither were “divas.”
Sandy (Shelley Dennis) and Hayden (Jeff Lorch) are the partiers. They snort cocaine, smoke pot, and have sex constantly – anywhere and everywhere.
Lastly there is Annie (Anne Griffin) who shows up alone. She immediately acts very quiet around Robert. Soon, Jenny learns why. Annie had an affair with Robert when he had walked out.
One of the most compelling aspects of the movie is how realistic the drama, friendship, and connection is between the characters. The acting and writing were fantastic.
The first night, Sandy and Hayden run out into the woods and have sex. The next day, Sandy comes worried sick because she can’t find her boyfriend. They soon find him naked and covered in black soot. He’s brought home but acts very different. There’s a strange mark in the back of his ear. He claims to remember nothing which is chopped up to a lot of partying and a bad hangover.
As more and more people disappear and come back acting strange, it becomes evident that aliens are in the woods and after them. This is proven when a photograph that Brian has taken shows one in the distance.
The pace of the film is fantastic. The storyline is great. There’s a definitive ending which is enjoyable. There are a few twists and turns that surprised me. All in all I was greatly impressed.
By far the standout in the film was Michael Cornacchia. His performance was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. For a supporting cast member, he brought so much to his character making it feel as though the story focus should be on him. Throughout the entire movie I was thinking, “Just don’t get Michael.” That’s quite an accomplishment considering the main story was on Jenny and Robert.
Cornacchia has presence and can steal a scene without saying a word. I fully intend to look through what else he has been in and check out his other work.
The other cast members were great. Each character was given a level of integrity which made them believable and therefore brought the audience into the situations that they suffered through. The ordeal endured real because of the fear and turmoil that the viewers see in the characters.
I absolutely loved the movie and would change very little. As I said in the beginning of this review, if you wanted to nitpick, you could certainly say that the CGI was blurry but of course the reasoning for that is the aliens would have looked cheesy and unrealistic otherwise.
Overall, I highly recommend checking this out. My brother bought it on an 8 pack at Walmart which I think is rather sad. I’m happy it obtained distribution, but considering how great this low-budget movie is, I would have preferred it getting its own straight-to-DVD release. I actually enjoyed it as much as the mainstream alien flick Dark Skies which was great in its own right.
Grey Skies is unique, fun and a genuine horror flick that has highly suspenseful moments.
Scared Stiff Rating: 8/10