The American software designers Sean and Ben travel to Moscow to sell their software to investors. However, their Swedish partner Skyler pulls a fast one on Sean and Ben, and they are out of the business. They go to a nightclub, where they meet American Natalie and Australian Anne and they flirt with the girls and see Skyler in the club. Out of the blue, the population is surprised by lights, which they mistake for natural phenomena. But soon, they learn that the lights are aliens invading Earth and using power supply to annihilate mankind. Sean, Ben, Natalie, Anne and Skyler hide in the kitchen and when they leave the place, they seek out survivors on the street. Are they the last people on Earth?Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fun but formulaic sci-fi thriller that should have been more
This is a B-grade movie and you should go in expecting one. Certainly, it won't win over many critics. Still, there are some thrills in this apocalyptic sci-fi thriller. Even though, it leaves a middling aftertaste. Thankfully, it runs at a lean 89 minutes and doesn't waste too much time in exposition, which are sometimes cringe-worthy. For me, it does throw in a few interesting ideas, which prevent it from being just another cookie-cutter entry in the increasingly stale genre.
First, the aliens. Instead of taking on the snarly form we've seen in countless films, they are invisible to the human eye and exist in the form of microwave energy. The only way they can be detected is when they pass through an object powered by electricity. And they kill humans by turning them into ashes. Because the aliens can't be seen, the killings are unpredictable.
Second, I like the idea of transposing the American protagonists and the apocalypse to a foreign city, Moscow, instead of the trite New York City or Los Angeles. The stereotypes of Russian culture are played for laughs, though most of the jokes come across flat. However, you get to relish the many famous sights and landmarks such as The Red Square, in ruins.
In terms of characters, most of them are disposable. Even the leads, Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby and Max Minghella come across as likable at best, but not memorable. It doesn't help that they are given lame one-liners. I wish they had given the eccentric Russian electrician and his cacophony of gadgets more screen time.
The Darkest Hour has a great setup. Pity the makers didn't have the balls to strive beyond formula. Even if the ending sets it up for a sequel, I reckon its box office performance will convince the studio they need one.
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