New in drive ins this week, On Demand and digital download July 7th from Gravitas Features!

SKYMAN (2020)

Directed by Daniel Myrick
Written by Daniel Myrick
Starring Michael Selle, Nicolette Sweeney, Faleolo Alailima, Willow Hale, Lee Broda, Dominic Medina, Paul Wilson, Patricia Lentz, Jacob Sandler, Michele Yeager, Erik Lunseth, Jakob Verweij

Find out more about this film here!

One half of the filmmaking team that was responsible for THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT ventures back into the shockumentary arena with SKYMAN, a soulful and intriguing film about a man with his head in the clouds…and in those clouds is an alien spacecraft.

SKYMAN tells the story of Carl Merryweather (Michael Selle) who claims he saw an alien being he dubbed “The Skyman” when he was ten years old. Others report a UFO sighting that very night, but Carl seems to be the only one who made contact with them. Now, nearing his 40th birthday, Carl has set up camp in the desert and gathered his sister Gina (Nicolette Sweeney) and his best bud Marcus (Faleolo Alailima) to hopefully meet the alien again. Something inside of Carl tells him that he must be there in the desert at that specific time and a camera crew follows Carl as he prepares for this meeting, counting down the days to hours to minutes to another event that cannot be explained.

SKYMAN is not a horror movie, per se. It’s definitely a mockumentary that delves into genre subject matter, but there are very little scares or terrors to be had. The film is more of a character study of a very flawed and interesting man as he attempts to make sense of the world he lives in. Carl is definitely mentally ill and most likely on the autism spectrum. He’s seen as a harmless character among his peers and relatives. His fascination with aliens and UFO culture is really no worse than any comic book fan or avid cinephile’s obsessions, but he definitely has issues that he most likely hasn’t addressed involving his father, his mother, and possibly some kind of odd abuse as a kid from bullies at school and possibly at home. Though it isn’t a horror film, I feel those who are interested in UFO lore will be interested in the detailed way filmmaker Dan Myrick follows Carl around and gets him to talk about his beliefs in the existence of life outside of Earth’s orbit. Even without the final moments, this would be a wonderful case study of a functional, but flawed man who dreams big.

The cast here is superb. They are so convincing that I was surprised to see credits listing them as actors at the end. Selle is absolutely authentic in his portrayal of the deeply flawed Carl. His childish optimism and mannerisms made me believe this guy was completely real. Nicolette Sweeney is even better as Gina, Carl’s sister. She has such a naturalistic way of expressing herself, genuinely caring for Carl and worrying about what happens when his expectations are not met when his contact with aliens doesn’t come through for him. There is a genuineness to her performance that really fleshes out the emotional core of SKYMAN. I feel a lot of people are going to be fooled into thinking this is a real documentary by the way these two actors play their roles.

While I usually fault found footage style films for having no real action until the last few minutes, I can’t do so here, mainly because Selle and Sweeney are so engaging to watch. This really is just about a man with problems attempting to make sense of them through fantastical means. Even if there wasn’t a few surprises at the end, I would have been utterly charmed by SKYMAN. As is, some will definitely fault this film for not having much zing to it until the end. I can see that if someone weren’t as enthralled with the characters as I was. But SKYMAN delivers in solid character and an engaging story that really keeps one invested until the very end. The slow build towards Carl’s final night is wonderfully paced, allowing us to get to know these likable characters and become as enrapt in these UFO theories as Carl is.

Don’t go into SKYMAN expecting a horror movie. This is a film that you have to enjoy for the deft character work and all of the bumps and bruises a simple man gets for dreaming. I loved this little movie that dares to dream big. It’s not scary, but man did I have a smile on my face at the end.

Click here for the trailer!!