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By Jess Fenton
18th January 2012

A couple of American boys come up with a potentially multi-million dollar social networking site only to be swindled out of it at the eleventh hour and they threaten to sue. No, I’m not talking about ‘The Social Network’, despite the appearance of recurring actor Max Minghella (who played Harvard Connection co-founder Divya Narendra in the aforementioned film). I’m talking about the latest alien invasion Sci-Fi epic, ‘The Darkest Hour’.

While on a failed business trip to Moscow, best friends Ben (Minghella) and Sean (Emile Hirsch, ‘Into The Wild’) meet fellow travelers Annie (Rachael Taylor, ‘Red Dog') and Natalie (Olivia Thirlby, ‘Juno') while at a nightclub. When the entire city experiences a blackout, our partygoers venture outside to see mysterious lights falling from they sky. Friend or foe? Well, when the lights start turning the revelers into ash at an alarming rate, it’s safe to assume foe. The group of four, plus a hanger-oner bunker down in the clubs basement for a few days until it’s time to venture out and seek help and fellow survivors. As it turns out, Moscow is now low on both. The quintette are forced to save themselves, but first they have to figure out how to detect their invisible predators.


The premise is great, and really engaging - as are the special effects - but it’s the execution where things fall apart. The drama is not so dramatic, with climatic scenes always falling just shy of their emotional target. The two-dimensional characters lead to some cliché, clunky, and at times over-the-top dialogue.

The film also falls victim to that all too common sci-fi faux pas - the reveal of the aliens doesn't live up to the hype. The entire premise of the film is based on the fact that our group of survivors can’t see the enemy and have to use everything in their arsenal to fight. All of a sudden, we're given access to what the aliens look like - an enemy whose design is under-conceived, underwhelming and poorly constructed. To add insult to injury, the two sets of best friends seem as though they met each other 30 minutes before director Chris Gorak yelled “Action!”. Chemistry is also missing between on-screen love interests Sean and Natalie.

The film has a great premise and great visual effects to keep the momentum going... for the most part. Definitely for true sci-fi fans - don’t expect a sequel.

RELEASE DATE: 19/01/2012
CAST: Emile Hirsch
Rachael Taylor
Olivia Thirlby
Joel Kinnaman
Max Minghella
Veronika Ozerova
Dato Bakhtadze
Yuriy Kutsenko
Nikolay Efremov
Georgiy Gromov
DIRECTOR: Chris Gorak
WRITER: Jon Spaihts
PRODUCERS: Timur Bekmambetov
Tom Jacobson
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