The Sky Has Fallen is a super low budget, independent production produced, directed and even edited by Doug Roos.
Set entirely in woodland, the story takes place after the arrival of some strange beings brings the human race to its knees. These aliens/zombies prowl the earth in dark robes and turn their victims into hideous zombies that are stitched together with various body parts and even weapons.
Lance is a lone wander, armed with a sword, guns and carrying some serious emotional baggage. As he scours the forest searching for the chief monster, he comes across Rachel. After saving her from the hacking claws of a frankenzombie, the two have an immediate connection and soon after agreeing to stick together, they fall in love.
Will their love endure the horrific onslaught? Good question.
The Sky Has Fallen is interesting in that it has some very strong points, but also some rather distracting weaknesses, that leaves the viewer a little confused about how they feel about it as the credits play.
One of the better aspects of the film is the special effects. There’s a lot of gushing, slopping blood and the zombies are pretty terrifying. Many are mutated and malformed and stitched together with wire – truly nightmarish.
They’re not your bog standard tiresome zombie, and Doug deserves a lot of credit for that alone. Having no budget, it would be easy to cut corners where the makeup is concerned, and thankfully he did not.
The romance concept is also something else to like about this film. It’s a brave idea indeed and again helps The Sky Has Fallen to stand out from the crowd. The cast, although obviously inexperience, manage to convey their emotions well enough to make their relationships clear and make a connection with the audience.
But no indie production is without its weaknesses and there are a few areas that the producers should work a little harder before their next project, or should I say ‘should have’ as this film was made in 2009.
First off, the setting. Although the story may lend itself to be entirely shot in a forest, you can’t help but think that this has been done purely to make things easier. Yes, shooting an invasion movie in a residential area isn’t going to be cheap or simple, but the endless woodland soon becomes tiresome and before long loses the attention of the viewer.
The film is nicely shot, but at times the image looks a little too over-worked. Every shot has a degree of soft focus or vignette, which looks unnatural. This technique could have been used more sparingly to better effect.
The dialogue was a little lacking, leading to some stilted interactions between characters, but in fairness this can’t always be helped. On a film of this scale, you can’t expect miracles from your cast and it can be hard to gauge how a conversation will work on screen until it’s already in the edit room – which is usually too late for re-shoots.
The Sky Has Fallen is a balanced film that offers up some really interesting and ambitious ideas. On the face of it, the film is a great example of independent film.
However, some of the flaws lead to audience fatigue, making it hard work to see through to the end.
With more variation, changes to the setting and additional inventiveness, Doug Roos and his crew could have produced something more exciting.
I note that Doug has been involved in numerous films since this one, and it would be interesting to see whether he has better honed his skills since this 2009 offering.