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The Darkest Hour (2011)

DVD Cover (Summit Entertainment)
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 / 10
Genres / Traits:
Action, Action Thriller, Alien Film, Science Fiction, 3-D
Director:
Chris Gorak Chris Gorak
Starring:
Emile Hirsch Emile Hirsch
Olivia Thirlby Olivia Thirlby
Max Minghella Max Minghella
Rachael Taylor Rachael Taylor
Joel Kinnaman Joel Kinnaman
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: December 30, 2011
There was a moment in "The Darkest Hour" where I found myself thinking: "How inconvenient was that?" It comes fairly early in the film when the four central characters (Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, Rachael Taylor) are walking down the streets of Moscow without another human being in sight. You know the shot all too well - empty cars and recognizable landmarks totally vacant. "28 Days Later" mastered this shot and no film has been able to duplicate the same sense of isolation or dread since. That said - I don't know if that is what director Chris Gorak was trying to create. All I could think about was how many people - how many Russians - were inconvenienced so four talented actors could play dress up in a bad alien movie.

And the plot to this bad alien movie: Four young people find themselves trapped in Moscow during an alien invasion. But these aliens are invisible and absorb energy, turning their victims into piles of ash. The only way to stop these insidious beings - throw light bulbs at them! The film follows these four central characters and a host of other pointless survivors as they look for answers and for a way out. And, of course, numerous people die just so we can see the same damned special effect over and over again. This whole film seems built around the idea this one guy probably had about how to make a cool special effect. They built the plot in around it. "Oh, we've done too many humans - let's turn a dog into ash this time!"

None of this film is believable. And before you grill me about believability in an alien film - I understand it's a work of fiction. But there still needs to be some shred of humanity to the film in order for us, as an audience, to relate to the characters and the situations they're in. What's sympathetic about two American brats who want to sell their programming for millions of dollars only to have it stolen by seedy Russian businessmen? Maybe a lot, but we never know because that whole set-up lasts less than five minutes. And the way in which these four actors come together is just lazy. Early in the film, Emile Hirsch is given some of the worst dialog I have ever heard an actor of his caliber deliver. On the airplane. You will know the scene to which I refer.

There was an under-appreciated film called "Vanishing on 7th Street" that came out earlier this year that shared many similarities with this film. They both dealt with entities taking away energy. But Brad Anderson's film was more grounded in humanity and made you care about the characters. "The Darkest Hour" just wants to keep giving actors excuses to fire guns at creatures when they know the guns will do no good. And, after the tenth time it happens, we know it too. It's only when the four youths meet up with some Russian locals that they move up their fire power to more 'scientific' microwave guns that don't just heat up popcorn. Then, all of a sudden, all of the characters become experts in this intricate science. How did they garner so much knowledge without access to the internet? Is this film a statement on a world without Wikipedia?

Most insulting however, above all else, is the fact that I paid $13.25 for this film. Why? Because the theatre I went to did not offer a 2D option. Shameless. This film has absolutely no 3D whatsoever and is the worst use of that marketing gimmick I have ever seen. I guess they assumed it would be a way for them to rake in as much money as possible whilst raping their audience members in the behind. In fact, maybe I should have watched the film with my 3D glasses off - maybe I would have enjoyed it more. All this film does in 3D is make Emile Hirsch's poor career decision that much more tragic.

I hate, hate, hated this film. So did everyone else in the theatre when I saw it. You know a film is a special kind of bad when it sparks debate between perfect strangers in a dark theatre as they all sit there wondering what in the hell they just witnessed. Such as "The Darkest Hour", a waste of ninety-minutes. Normally I would give a bad film credit for keeping it short, but ninety-minutes felt like two-hours here. Shame on Summit Entertainment for putting this film out there; it's no wonder they are failing as a company. With projects like "Twilight" and this crap hitting the market, people will eventually catch on. Maybe they already have. Either way, you couldn't pay me to sit through another second of "The Darkest Hour". 0/10.
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