The Darkest Hour

I only came to know about this film a few weeks ago and was out last Wednesday when I saw the dvd for it and I bought it. The Darkest Hour is a sci-fi thriller movie a bit on the same view as the newer movies of alien invasion stories that make the aliens relentless machines almost and only telling the story from the humans side, like Battle : Los AngelesSkyline. Similarly this film, a co-production effort between the United States & Russia, focuses on 4 American teenagers who are in Moscow when the aliens attack. Directed by Chris Gorak and produced by Timur Bekmambetov, the movie stars Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirlby, Joel Kinnaman, Rachael Taylor and Veronika Ozerova.

Ben and Sean travel to Moscow from the US to give a presentation on their social networking / friendship site. When they reach the offices they find that their Swedish partner Skylar has already made a deal with the Russians, using a knockoff version of the application. Pissed at the situation, they go to a popular nightclub to drown their sorrows. There they meet two beautiful girls, American Natalie and her Australian friend Anne. They four of them get acquainted and all friendly until Skylar shows up. Suddenly the lights go out as the night sky is light up like a very large Aurora Borealis. However it’s more golden electric in colour & look and the lights start to separate and approach the ground. A policeman who approaches it is disintegrated and the same happens to anyone the lights can touch. The lights are aliens, protected by almost invisible force fields, as we soon find out. As the killing starts, panic it’s and people start running all over to find safety.

Ben, Sean, Natalie, Anne and Skyler end up hiding in the club’s storeroom for several days. They then decides to try to find other people and leave their shelter. A seemingly lifeless Moscow looms in front of them. They also discover that light bulbs and other electrical devices begin working when an invisible alien is nearby, creating a primitive early warning system for them. They go through a car park and a shopping mall and decide to try to get to the American consulate. On reaching there, they find the place gutted and through reports find out that the attacks are worldwide. Skylar is separated from the other four and is killed by an alien. The four of them find a building with a lighted apartment , the only one in the city they have seen so far. In it they find a young woman named Vika and Sergai, an electrical engineer, who made the whole apartment into a Faraday cage that when closed hides them from the aliens. Sergai also invented a microwave gun that weakens the aliens’ shield buying time to kill them with normal guns. He also tells them that the aliens can’t detect humans behind glass. As the 6 of them relax with some tea, they hear a repeated radio transmission that asks all survivors to find their way to the Moscow River where a nuclear submarine awaits to take them to safety.

The girls go to get some supplies from another apartment when an alien spots them. Anne is hesitant to follow Vika and she runs back to the apartment, with Natalie in pursuit. They are unable to close the door properly and the alien comes in. Sergai is killed as the batteries run out of the gun and as the others run out the window, Anne is hesitant and that costs her – she is killed. Damn, the hot blonde is killed halfway through! A distraught Natalie sets the apartment on fire and she joins Ben, Sean & Vika. They meet up with Russian cops who hunt & shoot the aliens and kill one that attacks the 4 young people. Sean collects a piece of the dead alien and asks the Russians to take them to the river. While on route Ben is killed saving Vika, as an alien captures and disintegrates him in front of Sean. At the river they use a boat to get to the submarine but an alien beam destroys a building right next to the river, causing the boat to capsize and throw them all into the water. Natalie is missing, as she fell away from the others and rushed to a nearby bus depot. The cops & Sean go to get her back and kills one alien but another traps both Sean & Natalie in a trolleybus and sends it hurtling towards the city. Sean manages to kill the alien by destroying it’s shield with his microwave gun and then killing it with the piece of it’s dead comrade. He & Natalie rush back to join the cops and they reach the submarine. The Russian cops stay back to fight the aliens for their city. ean, Natalie and Vika plan to spread what they learned about fighting the aliens – the microwave guns and their weakness to remnants of dead aliens – to other survivors. As the submarine leaves, they hear hopeful news of other human groups defeating the aliens.

I wasn’t impressed at all as the story seems too far fetched. Cliched & predictable and the bit about the aliens easily killed by remnants of their species is as stupid and dumb as can be. Nice to see Olivia Thirlby – I haven’t seen any of her movies since Juno. And Joel Kinnaman is sterotyped as the annoying one (see his role on AMC’s The Killing). The movie is nothing to get excited about. 6 outta 10!

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