SKYLINE (15, 92 mins)

Gargantuan alien spacecraft descend over major cities of the world and cleanse the dying planet of its pernicious human parasites by hoovering up the stupefied inhabitants.

Friday, 12th November 2010, 10:58 am

Entire neighbourhoods lay deserted and the survivors of the initial onslaught cower in their homes, hoping to evade the airborne patrol drones.

Thus begins Skyline, aka The Independence Day War Of The Cloverfield Worlds, a fast-paced sci-fi thriller from the Brothers Strause, who previously directed AVPR: Aliens Vs Predator - Requiem.

With a background in digital effects, siblings Colin and Greg mastermind a blitzkrieg of other worldly creatures and robots to terrorise their two-dimensional characters.

Screenwriters Joshua Cordes and Liam O’Donnell unapologetically recycle entire scenes from other blockbusters and roughly splice them together to create a perfunctory narrative, which documents the extra-terrestrial invasion in Los Angeles.

A life-or-death game of hide and seek in a high-rise kitchen is ‘borrowed’ from Jurassic Park and the horribly misjudged coda clearly takes its lead from District 9.

The story centres initially on Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and his girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson), who fly to the west coast to celebrate the birthday of Jarrod’s best friend, Terry (Donald Faison).

They stay in Terry’s plush penthouse suite, which he shares with materialistic girlfriend Candice (Brittany Daniel).

At the end of the raucous party, both couples collapse in their bedrooms while Terry’s pal Ray (Neil Hopkins) and assistant Denise (Crystal Reed) crash in the living room.

In the early hours of the morning, pulses of bright blue light fall from the sky and draw people like moths to a flame.

As Terry and his friends stare horrified out of the penthouse windows, they witness the mass harvesting of the city’s denizens.

However, the worst is yet to come and if Jarrod, Elaine and co are to evade capture and a grisly fate, they will have to make stark choices.

The Brothers Strause financed Skyline with their own money so they didn’t have to make any creative compromises.

They certainly don’t stint on the computer-generated carnage and Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr, who designed the creature effects for AVPR: Aliens Vs. Predator - Requiem, work their magic here too.

Actors gamely fling themselves into the melee and try not to stumble over the clunky dialogue, while David Zayas enjoys a brief appearance as the apartment block manager who is the first to realise that the human resistance hasn’t struck a fatal blow against the aliens after all.

“They’re not dead, they’re just really, really p***** off!” he deadpans.

Taken in the spirit in which is it hopefully intended - a brainless thrill ride - Skyline is a slick genre piece that entertains for 92 minutes and is forgotten as soon as you walk out of the cinema.