Invasion of the Brain Eaters

Skyline contains countless money shots, from alien spaceships descending on Los Angeles to spectacular aerial battles pitting American military against the invasion. Everything around that is terrible.

The small scale script is an admittedly interesting way to stage a massive disaster genre film, keeping the characters locked to their apartment complex, arguing over what they should do. And that’s Skyline in brief, a movie where unlikable, even obnoxious people ramble on about their personal problems or fight among each other when deciding the best course of action. It’s arduous, and time hasn’t helped given the deluge of visual effects-driven movies since.

… even at Skyline’s tensest peaks, the human and alien elements never comfortably merge

That was Skyline’s draw – the directing Strause brothers independently created this without studio backing. That’s still impressive when considering the visible scale achieved, and number of digitally created images. However, there’s still a narrative to follow, and even at Skyline’s tensest peaks, the human and alien elements never comfortably merge.

These invaders use light to stun people, then suck them into their ships to extract brains. In the ‘50s, this earned a catchy title like, Alien Brain Eaters from Mars, but Skyline seems to think it’s more mature than that. The content says otherwise, mostly swinging for dramatic relationship drama, but whiffing because these couples never seem stable in the first place. The brain extractions don’t help.

Copying War of the Worlds 2005 (and the original novel and film), Skyline’s best work comes as mechanical tentacles hunt around a room for victims, the people hiding behind a countertop. This seems at odds with the numbers the aliens aim for – this plan would take ages to see through to the end – but it’s effectively directed.

There were two sequels to Skyline. In progression, each is worse than the last, and given this was the starting point, that says something. Ending on a cliffhanger, it’s a tease not worth following anyway since it involves characters with such thin appeal.


Average at best, Scream/Shout Factory states this is a 4K master from the source materials, but Skyline carries the so-so veneer of a 2K finish. Some ringing on high contrast edges causes issues, likely inherent to Skyline forever. Routine texture and definition result, middling for this format.

Once the aliens hit, blues become the dominate choice in the palette. Prior, some warmth drips into the flesh tones from the Los Angeles skies. A few primaries escape, but in limited form.

Clipping is detectable at the brightest areas of the screen. Oddly though, Skyline isn’t that bright overall. Aliens, who drop onto Earth in balls of light, limit the possible nits. As a result, Skyline lacks punch visually, and black levels push only to a flat gray; again, likely a source limitation. The same goes for the digital noise, buzzing in the lighter shadows at a near constant rate.


Never subtle with its low-end punch, Skyline brings a powerhouse DTS-HD track to 4K. Alien invasion adds plentiful bass, rocking the room with sustained shaking. Helicopter engines rumble, and party music pushes the subwoofer to the deepest tiers for such audio.

Directionality lacks the same spectacle, but surrounds and stereos do factor in. Actual discrete material is difficult to notice amid the heaviest action, the soundstage minimally effective. Ships and bullets track okay during the largest scale action scenes, but if there’s somewhere Skyline saved its budget, that’s audio.


The UHD includes a commentary from directors Greg and Colin Strause, and a second track with co-writers Liam O’Donnell and Joshua Cordes. The Blu-ray carries the commentaries as well, with deleted scenes, pre-vis, and trailers too.

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Tortuously uninteresting, Skyline doesn’t offer anything beyond a few memorable military attack scenes.

User Review
1 (2 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 40 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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