The Darkest Hour (2011) Review
The Darkest Hour
Release Date: December 25, 2011
Written by Jon Spaihts
Directed by Chris Gorak
I wasn’t impressed with the trailer for The Darkest Hour, and I honestly didn’t see anything appealing about it whatsoever. Invisible aliens that kill people that use electricity? No thanks. However, as most of you know by now, I have the standards of a 14-year-old preacher’s daughter sitting in the boy’s locker room. Sooner or later, I was going to watch The Darkest Hour and that time has come.
I went into the film with a fairly open mind and I actually enjoyed the opening. Two friends and business partners named “Sean” and “Ben,” (Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella, respectively) are traveling to Russia in order to seal a business deal. Things don’t go as planned and they end up in a Russian bar with their Internet friends “Natalie” and “Anne” (the always lovely Olivia Thirlby and Rachael Taylor). Up to this point, the one-liners were flowing excellently and if The Darkest Hour had continued to play as a buddy comedy about a group of friends dealing with the difficulties of traveling through a country where very few people speak their language (yes, like Eurotrip), I believe I would’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. Unfortunately, the invisible electric alien monsters had to come ruin everything.
The film’s ideas just get jumbled and confusing at this point, and maybe I’m alone here, but isn’t the whole “invisible monsters” thing sort of played out at this point? In reality, I’m sure I would be terrified if an enemy that I couldn’t see was chasing me through a foreign country, but it just doesn’t transfer well through film. I want to see what I’m supposed to be afraid of. Little sparks in the air aren’t scary and then tension and suspense were almost nonexistent. It became a “friends on the run” movie very quickly – complete with introductions of characters that looked straight out of The Road Warrior and had comic book personalities. It just didn’t fit.
One thing that I admired about The Darkest Hour was that the filmmakers weren’t afraid to kill off characters that were seemingly invincible. I love this in horror films because the “nobody is safe” rule is part of what makes the genre so great. The problem with this happening in The Darkest Hour is that not only do you not care about these characters; their best friends (in the film) don’t seem to either. There are maybe 45 seconds of total mourning in the entire movie. It just doesn’t make sense. After the first twenty minutes, I wanted to like The Darkest Hour. I really did. The ideas and execution are just so jumbled and goofy that I didn’t feel satisfied when the credits rolled. It was like a touchdown pass slipping through the metaphorical fingers of the filmmakers.
- Blair Hoyle