26th Oct2020

Frightfest 2020: ‘Skylin3s’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Lindsey Morgan, Rhona Mitra, Alexander Siddig, James Cosmo, Daniel Bernhardt, Jonathan Howard, Yayan Ruhian, Ieva Andrejevaite, Samantha Jean, Giedre Mockeliunaite, Jeremy Fitzgerald | Written by Liam O’Donnell, Matthew E. Chausse | Directed by Liam O’Donnell

I had initially started this review with a brief history of the place in my heart that I have for the Skyline franchise but you know what? Let me just say that I am a total sci-fi nerd, I love alien invasion film and I especially love a flick that has the balls to have insane ambition and looks to create a wide reaching universe. Skyline has always been that franchise! A franchise that knows exactly what it is and where it wants to be; a franchise that for the budget they have, always pulls out the stops and impresses from start to finish; a franchise that lets be honest doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

Here we are in 2020, Covid is ruining everything, cinemas are closed and festivals are going online. FrightFest has just wrapped its latest session of flicks and they finished the final night with the premiere of Skylin3s. We will get into it but let me tell you right now… This movie was everything I wanted it to be and a ton of things I didn’t even know I wanted. I personally thought this was a perfect way to cap off the festival; after a few days of some of the best horror on offer we ended with a balls to the wall unrelenting epic – with aliens, a virus, and easily this generation’s new leading lady, Lindsey Morgan, and DS9’s Doctor Bashir! Let’s get into it…

A virus is threatening… Woah woah woah, a virus? Surely this is too soon? With an impending virus looming that threatens to turn all the now “friendly” earth inhabiting aliens (as explained neatly in the prologue) against their human counterparts, Captain Rose Corley (Morgan) is called upon by General Radford (Alexander Siddig) to lead a crack team of mercenaries on an away mission to the alien homeworld Cobalt1, in order to find the weapon/cure to save humanity. Cue tense thin-ice relationships, awesome fight choreography, Snyder inspired zoom lens and epic showdowns all over the place, at a somewhat relentless pace. How will Captain Rose, a half-human half-alien deal with the inner struggle of being in her half genetic home world? How is Yayan Ruhian back after the events of Beyond Skyline? How is Trent doing these days? All these questions will b…. Look just watch the damn film, it’s great!

It’s pretty obvious I had a great time with Skylin3s which I pretty much suspected I would but I did go in with reasonable expectations and was blown away by what had been created. Kicking off the movie with an epic prologue that pretty much serves as a “previously on Skyline” but also gives you an indication of the events that destroyed half of Earth. We are then thrown 15 years into the future and our wrap around character from Beyond Skyline is a fully grown badass half-alien war machine.

Let me talk about Lindsey Morgan… Yes! I want to see this leading lady in everything in fact I would go out on a limb and say Captain Rose could easily kick it with some of our favorites like Ellen Ripley or Sarah Conner. I loved Rose Corley as a character and Lindsey Morgan brought a great level of depth to her. Add to this she can punch and kick like she was born to do so and looks the part amongst our team of resident ultra bad asses… It’s safe to say director Liam O’Donnell was inspired in this casting choice.

The team dynamic works really well with a very diverse cast of ‘Colonial Marines.’ Okay, they are not called that but the inspiration is clear, led by Owens (Daniel Berhardt) and his second in command Leon (Johnathan Howard, who is a revelation by the way). Some of the big set pieces involving these guys are insanely gorgeous in terms of the fight choreography and cinematography. You can tell this team has tried to keep the effects as practical as possible but the VFX they do use is on point, including an interesting camouflage for the aliens, reminiscent of Predator, that I really liked, it made them seem more menacing. One thing I did admire was how DOP Alain Duplantier clearly knows how to frame a gorgeous ‘hero shot’ giving everyone their splash page moment which was usually accompanied by a great hero theme.

The Skyline franchise has a history of attracting some great talent with the likes of Grillo and Uwais. This addition is no different with James Cosmo coming in with his usual chewing of scenery awesomeness, Alexander Siddig is always a pleasure to see and of course Rhona Mitra cropping up looking amazing as always. Oh and Yayan is back which is a little bit “How?” but you just roll with that because he has some awesome fights.

Writer/Director Liam O’Donnell is the perfect person to be in charge of this franchise you can almost see all of his passion and his favourite sci-fi movies up on the screen, as he builds the perfect universe to compliment his inspirations and love of this story. He understands what people like myself go to the cinema to see up on the big screen and there are moments in this flick that you could literally frame up on your wall. However in amongst all these big epic space/action beats we get some really heartfelt story driven moments and then some playful witty banter between our away team especially from the Leon and Trent characters with some super clever in-jokes… this team is akin to Rico’s Roughnecks in the best possible way!

If you are a fan of the Riddick movies, Alien, Mad Max, Starship Troopers, The Raid, Predator, ID4, hell even the Avenger movies, this is absolutely the movie for you. A smart as hell space actioner that cuts between earth and the alien homeworld and never outstayed its welcome. Best of all Skylin3s carries on the tradition of having huge cajones dreaming big in scope and size to continually build on the great stuff that came before it. I want more of this world and no spoilers here but I feel it will happen…

I will say I was a tad surprised to see FrightFest had gone out and got Skylin3s for a premiere but I am so glad they did because it was exactly what I needed in 2020 and it rounded off a few days of horrors flicks with, OK, not EXACTLY a perfect space flick but it was pretty damn close. Skylin3s will make my Top 5 of 2020 that’s for sure.

****½  4.5/5

Skylin3s closed this months Frightfest Digital Festival yesterday, Sunday October 25th. The film will be in select cinemas and on demand from December 18th 2020.


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