'Dark Skies' Hoping to Lure Audiences With Creepy Interactive Experience

1:28 PM PST 02/04/2013 by Seth Abramovitch

The Keri Russell sci-fi thriller from TWC/Dimension plays on user paranoia with a new website.

Harvey Weinstein and heavy-handed marketing go together like Shakespeare and love, but for an upcoming release -- the supernatural domestic thriller Dark Skies -- The Weinstein Co. and its Dimension Films imprint are going for a subtler touch.

Watch the foreboding trailer, in which flocks of birds crash into the home of Lacy and Daniel Barrett (Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton) as mysterious markings begin to appear on their kids' bodies, and you'll come away knowing only that someone or something has designs on this all-American family.

What that thing is, however, the studio isn't saying.

"We're trying to stay away from the reveal as much as possible," says Bladimiar Norman, senior vp marketing at TWC. 

Instead, the movie, from producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity), is going the moody-and-mysterious route with its marketing. The centerpiece is an "experiential" website, YouHaveBeenChosen.org, which pulls from the troves of information stored in a user's Facebook profile for a campaign targeted at the inner-conspiracy theorist in all of us.

First, you'll be chipped with an identity card covered in otherworldly markings. Drag through the various sections of your "file" to get the chilling sensation that you're on someone's must-probe list. Then warn your Facebook friends that the visitors are coming for them next.

"We try to exploit the openness that consumers have with their social media platforms," Norman tells The Hollywood Reporter.  "It gives them the idea that people are watching them and can very easily develops files on them. We know where you live and where you were born and who your friends are. It's a play on accessibility and also just having fun with the creepiness and paranoid nature of the subject of the film."

There's more interactivity planned in the run-up to the movie's Feb. 22 release, including an Instagram campaign that encourages users to upload creepy photos of their own close encounters of the uninvited kind.

"We're really intrigued by the idea of developing this brand out further," says Norman.

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