Movie Reviews

The Darkest Hour: Best seen with eyes closed

By inSing EditorMovies - 30 December 2011 1:00 PM | Updated 09 January 2012

The Darkest Hour: Best seen with eyes closed

Movie details | Photo gallery | Watch trailer | Buy tickets

Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Yet another alien invasion film hits our shores, or rather Moscow. Since “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” only destroyed a small part of the city, this film does the rest.

The film, produced by “Daywatch” and “Nightwatch” director Timur Bekmambetov, follows a group of mainly American stars as they try to keep away from the aliens and find a route to freedom.

Young Americans Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella are in Moscow for a business deal that falls through, and come across two tourists, Olivia Thirlby and Rachael Taylor, at a nightclub. Too bad that the evening is interrupted by an alien invasion, as oddly-shaped lights descend upon the city and start vaporizing any humans around.

The group, together with a Swedish business rival, hole up in a pantry of the disco, then emerge after a few days to look for survivors and escape. They’re soon dodging the lethal creatures, which have apparently taken over the city. 

The difference between the aliens here and other films of the similar genre is that the extraterrestrial here are invisible, but trigger electrical devices when they go past them. The character also discovers a whole bunch of things about them as the movie goes along, including a way to defeat them.

The aliens’ characteristic naturally triggers some interesting visuals, such as when they walk past a bunch of tiny light bulbs, which almost look like something from an art exhibition.

Sadly, the film’s main problem is that the main characters lack much depth, and you’re almost grateful when they get turned into ash by the aliens, since the visuals for that are at least impressive.

In fact, some of the characters that they encounter around the city are far more interesting and fascinating, such as an eccentric inventor who lives within a Faraday cage, as well as some Moscow soldiers who seem to have dressed up for a costume contest.

Pity poor Hirsch, whose career hasn’t quite taken off after his performances in “Into the Wild” and “Speed Racer”. In this film he might as well have walked around with the tag ‘smart aleck’.

It’s hard to take the film as horror, as director Chris Gorak fails to drum up much scares or thrills, and the show seems to have been build around the concept of the aliens. There are some decent CG effects, but the film itself lacks much of everything else, such as an interesting story or characters.

It’s hard to rouse much life into this film. It runs out of power long before the ending arrives.