89 Min | Action – Drama – Sci-Fi | December 2011
IMDB Rating: 4.9
Director: Chris Gorak
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella
The Darkest Hour Review: The Darkest Hour is a B-grade movie and you should go in expecting one. Certainly, it won’t win over many critics. Still, there are some thrills in this apocalyptic sci-fi thriller. Even though, it leaves a middling aftertaste. Thankfully, it runs at a lean 89 minutes and doesn’t waste too much time in exposition, which are sometimes cringe-worthy. For me, it does throw in a few interesting ideas, which prevent it from being just another cookie-cutter entry in the increasingly stale genre.
In The Darkest Hour, first, the aliens. Instead of taking on the snarly form we’ve seen in countless films, they are invisible to the human eye and exist in the form of microwave energy. The only way they can be detected is when they pass through an object powered by electricity. And they kill humans by turning them into ashes. Because the aliens can’t be seen, the killings are unpredictable. Second, I like the idea of transposing the American protagonists and the apocalypse to a foreign city, Moscow, instead of the trite New York City or Los Angeles. The stereotypes of Russian culture are played for laughs, though most of the jokes come across flat. However, you get to relish the many famous sights and landmarks such as The Red Square, in ruins.
In terms of characters, most of them are disposable. Even the leads, Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby and Max Minghella come across as likable at best, but not memorable. It doesn’t help that they are given lame one-liners. Wish they had given the eccentric Russian electrician and his cacophony of gadgets more screen time. The Darkest Hour has a great setup. Pity the makers didn’t have the balls to strive beyond formula. All in all a quick and dirty sci-fi horror, with reasonable acting, great setting and refreshing ideas. It should have a rating a lot higher than the five stars people have given it. There are some scenes of deeper emotion and thought. The Darkest Hour is an excellent film.