The Darkest Hour (2011) Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman, Veronika Vernadskaya, Dato Bakhtadze Movie Review

The Darkest Hour (2011)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Max Minghella and Emile Hirsch in The Darkest Hour (2011)

Attack the Bloc

Sean (Emile Hirsch - Into the Wild) and Ben (Max Minghella - 10 Years) are in Moscow to tie up a deal for their new phone app when they find themselves being stitched up by Swedish businessman, Skyler (Joel Kinnaman). Angry and frustrated, Sean and Ben hit the club scene where they pick up Anne (Rachael Taylor - Red Dog) and Natalie (Olivia Thirlby - Dredd), a couple of Americans who are tired of being hit on by Russians. Shortly after Skyler shows up and just as things between them appear to be getting ready to kick off the lights go out and aliens descends from the sky like over sized fire flies, turning everyone to dust with some sort of electrical charge. Are group of five take refuge in a storeroom until eventually they decide to venture outside to look for other survivors whilst doing battle with these alien things.

"The Darkest Hour" has the unfortunate problem of being incredibly similar to so many other movies. Ignore the alien shenanigans for a second and what we have is a small group of survivors searching for signs of life in a world devoid of life and covered in ashes, think "28 Days Later" but the threat is from these alien sprites rather than virus infected zombies. It means that even though we are taken to Russia and have an alien threat the end result ends up painfully familiar with are group arguing, ending up getting smaller when one of them is picked off and so on.

As such it feels like a big chunk of cash was chucked at the special effects to try and impress those who watch "The Darkest Hour" unaware that the story is just a reworking of an old one. So we have broken bridges and an airplane in a Russian mall but the whole thing has that fake look which at times make it look like one of those cheesy sci-fi disaster movies which come out of The Asylum. Not all of it is bad and some of the smaller touches are quite nice, such as the static charge of one of these aliens causing a girl's hair to move but for the most it doesn't impress.

What also doesn't impress is the weird decision to present us with unlikeable and unbelievable characters. The way Sean and Ben act around people makes them arrogant jerks and I don't know about you but I find it hard to champion those who back in the 70s were the sort of characters you could bank on ending up victims in a disaster movie. Then there is the dialogue that these guys and the other characters speak as they all seem to have a hugely superior grip on everything which makes them less than believable.

What this all boils down to is that "The Darkest Hour" might entertain a young audience who might be impressed by some of the special effects. But for those who know their way around apocalyptic and zombie movies it will all end up too familiar and too full of nonsense.

Tags: Zombie Movies