THE DARKEST HOUR
Blu Ray/DVD Release 2012
89 minutes approx
Directed by -
Written by -
Sean and Ben are two young men in Moscow for the first time to pitch a social networking deal to Russian buyers. When they are double-crossed by Skyler they find solace in a bar and hook up with a couple of girls. Then the aliens descend. Balls of energy and invisible to the eye, they reduce people to dust. Emerging after having been holed up in a storeroom, the group have to find their way through a deserted city, looking for safety and rescue.
Advances in computer technology make it possible to put together a film with great special effects for very little money. This was proven by both MONSTERS and SKYLINE, both of them involving aliens and survivors. THE DARKEST HOUR does not match up to either of these, but might get by as a Friday night post-pub dvd to watch with mates.
The first big problem here is that we are promised an alien invasion movie and we get an empty city with the occasional invisible alien showing up. This betrays either a lack of financing or a lack of ideas. The initial invasion is nicely done with the lights falling through the sky to land in the city and then instant death, but following their emergence there is far too much of the survivors bickering and not enough of the aliens slaughtering.
And it's the actors that are the biggest liability and the second big problem. They don't create characters that are strong enough to care about and so the threat doesn't ... well ... threaten. When the aliens do appear (invisible yes, but marked by lights coming on and mobile phones ringing etc) we don't really care whether any of the cast survive or not.
Setting the film in Moscow, however, is a major plus point to the production. There are fresh new sights and a pleasing difference to the locations thanks to Timur Bekmambetov's involvement and the underused location. This also means that we get some utterly bonkers Russians who are as entertaining as they are utterly unbelievable along the way.
The special effects are pretty much a one-trick pony with people being reduced to ash on a regular basis, although the aliens are revealed later on and at least manage to be nicely different from ones we've seen before. The lights falling on Moscow scene is imporessive and the nightclub massacre is a good start with the bus stop climax a nice way to finish. It's the stuff that goes between that doesn't work.
Apart from its setting, there's nothing new about THE DARKEST HOUR and what it does has been done better elsewhere on a regular basis. The middle sags, but the initial attack and final showdown are nicely done.
Both Blu Ray and DVD formats are released on May 21 2012.
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