Review of “The Darkest Hour”

by Simon on January 25, 2012 · 2 comments

Uninspiring and insipid, this contemporary take on the zombie genre sees a group of gorgeous twenty somethings trapped in Moscow trying desperately to get away from an endless attack launched by nasty id-like blobs of energy.

darkesthour.jpgAustralian actress Racheal Taylor joins Emile Hersch, Max Mingella (yes, son of Anthony) and Olivia Thiriby – four young tourists who meet in a nightclub in Moscow just as the skies fill with glowing orange energy wisps. Beautiful to look at for a moment, the almost invisible alien force quickly show their true colours, sucking the electrics from modern society and randomly microwaving Muscovites, their tourist comrades and the occasional dog – all of which disintegrate spectacularly with cinematic fizz. Once the group of four discover that there is a way out of the city, and that there are some other survivors, the story becomes a case of who’s going to be separated from the group and zapped before ninety minutes is up.

Although the special effects and production design (mostly of deep fried Moscow) are excellent, there’s not much else to commend. With a woefully obvious script by Jon Spaihts (full of lines like “look, that’s the building we need to get to”, “ok, let’s go there then.”) the cast don’t have much chance to make anything of their characters and do little more than run, hide and moan about the general post-apocalyptic state of affairs. Director Chris Gorak fails to both find any drama in the lacklustre story and create any real tension, leaving the main viewer activity working out who will be the last person standing.

Why the film needed to be in 3D is as much a mystery as the background of the alien invaders, who could have been the most interesting part of the story had their purpose and personalities been explored in more depth. Cmon! We all know that the bad guys should be the most interesting thing on screen. Even traditional zombies have some comic value (and a bit of drool). But no, these silent and deadly killers have as much charm as dimmer switches from the Third Reich. And no drool. Sadly the four friends on the good side of the narrative are almost as dull and when they do meet minor characters with a bit of personality, we know what happens to them! Zap. Maybe that’s the message of the film – if you want to survive an alien invasion, be as dull as possible.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe mama September 1, 2013 at 12:57 am

How the hell is this a contemporary take on the zombie genre? This movie had zero zombie references. Obviously you have never seen the movie you are reviewing, or you have never seen a zombie movie. Check out 28 Days Later….now THAT is a contemporary take on zombies.

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Simon September 1, 2013 at 10:05 am

Hi Joe – I reckon the alien attackers are very like zombies! No personality, an unquenchable urge to kill humans, and an endless supply of them. Agree with you about 28 Days Later – great film. Great zombies. Much better than this one (which I did watch all the way to the end). SW

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