The low-budget indie Skyline, where hostile aliens unleash hell on Los Angeles, just unveiled its first-ever footage. We saw a movie that definitely has the potential to be the next District 9...but on an even bigger scale.
The premise of Skyline is simple. As the trailer and a preview showed us, a group of young, mildly douchey friends are spending the weekend partying at a swanky hotel on the outskirts of Los Angeles. After a night of revelry, they are awakened at 4:27 AM by strange, booming noises. They head outside to see strange blue lights vaporizing downtown Los Angeles. When two of the characters go out to the roof to investigate, they see UFOs descend from the clouds, and other people start getting sucked off the rooftops into the ships.
With that, the race is on to survive and flee the city, all while trying to avoid getting sucked into a UFO, dodge giant prowling aliens, and escape the mysterious blue lights that absolutely wreak havoc on people's skin. We don't know just how massive the attack is - whether it's worldwide or centered on Los Angeles - but we saw clips of giant aerial battles between the military and the UFOs, and the panel moderator hinted that he had seen scenes that were on an even bigger scale.
The movie is the work of the Greg and Colin Strause, who have done amazing visual and special effects work on Avatar, Titanic, 300, X-Men 3, The Day After Tomorrow, and Terminator 3 (and they would really appreciate it if you forgot they directed Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem). The duo chose to work outside the studio system on this project, making a movie on the (relative) cheap and in record time - the movie has only taken 11 months to make. They said they've been around movies long enough to know what people do wrong and cut out all the inefficiencies that cause big budget projects to waste huge amounts of money.
It also allowed them to cast exactly who they wanted, sidestepping the often infuriating politics of casting in the studio system. The movie stars Eric Balfour (Haven), Donald Faison (Turk on Scrubs), Scottie Thompson (Trauma), Brittney Daniel (Mac's on/off love interest on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and David Zayas (Angel Batista on Dexter). Because of the low budget, the cast noted that they didn't have their own trailers, which meant they were able to bond and talk over the movie, which helped their performances. Eric Balfour also mentioned that the Brothers Strause were able to get away with having them do stuff they could never get away with on a bigger picture, including putting the actors on some very rickety scaffolding just because there was no one to tell them no.
Skyline looks like it's got a chance to be the next awesome low-budget alien flick. The Brothers Strause said it has 800 shots in it, which is more than most blockbusters, and their use of high-end digital cameras allowed them to really maximize the amount of shooting they could do with limited time and money. They explained that they told everyone involved to just go nuts and do the sort of stuff they could never get past twenty rounds of producers, and one of the coolest things we saw was the completely organic approach to the alien ships and their marauding alien walkers.
Skyline comes out November 12, 2010, and we're definitely optimistic that it'll be worth checking out.