The Darkest Hour (2011)
Director: Chris Gorak
Two software hustlers Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) head to Moscow, Russia to pimp their shit and party hardy. Alas shit goes to hell when an alien invasion falls upon the city, with the threat being invisible, energy sucking, force field whoring outerspace-buggers. Our two dudes tag up with a couple of hotties (wouldn't you) and try to get out of dodge.
From a selfish point of view I wasn't happy with THE DARKEST HOUR'S release date. They didn't screen the film early for critics or a-holes like me; fine I can work with that (it does say “something” though). But they released it on freaking X-Mas day. Doesn't bother the masses I know, but for me, that kinda sucked. I had to go see a movie and write a review on X-Mas day. I do that all f*cking year man, I can't have this one day off to HANG BACK and be with my FAMILY? Come on! Of course when you're throwing a softie and hoping for coin, it makes biz sense. Teens ae not at school (it's the weekend) so they may go see it (it's rated PG 13), and there won't be many reviews floating around to influence peeps (cause film critics are on Holidays). Ahhh good old Hollywood, don't release a “scary” movie during the now “horror dry” Halloween season, release it on X-Mas! Yeah... genius move... 10 bucks it tanks! So how was the film itself? Here it goes!
Don't let producer Timur Bekmambetov's name in the credits fool ya. Although he directed some potent genre shots like Night Watch, Day Watch and Wanted, he's only one of the producers on this sucka. So no, it's not a Timur movie. Chris Gorak was behind the lens... more on the lad's work later. Now I'm not one of them dudes that minds a generic/deja vu premise. It's all been done before anyways and I won't shit on a movie cause it's about something I've seen already. I love alien invasion celluloid parties and if they give me something I can rock to once the shit hits the fan, all freaking good. THE DARKEST HOUR started off on the right lightning bolt and went about getting the ball rolling A f-ing SAP. Straight up, the action kicked in like 10 minutes in. I was taken aback at how quickly it was all unraveling. This movie wasn't playing in terms of going from point A to B to C that's for damn sure! On the upside that resulted in an effortless sit down. No time to get bored or restless here, it's moherf*cking on! Dead time was very swift and seldom. I was basically going from one set piece to another, all strung together by a flimsy line that posed as a narrative.
On that, I did dig the actors and their individual vibes gave their roles the spark the “on paper” characterization didn’t. Emile Hirsch was credible and likable, Max Minghella was on/off yet still effective, Olivia Thirlby, was solid across the board while Rachael Taylor's was aight, her talent somewhat overshadowed by her sizzling looks and that thick “turned me on” accent. But hey, strong cast = me kept in the game. So props! Directing wise; Chris Gorak did some potent things. His framing was inventive, some of his nifty visual tricks hit the spot while his alien POV bits and his slow motion sequences came with a hefty bag of BAM! He also delivered when it came to making his handful of action set pieces engaging and fun. Finally some of the visual effects were bang on (peeps getting disintegrated, War of the Worlds remake style), the striking Moscow locations were used slyly and I really warmed up to the Russian characters and the actors that tackled them (even though they were dressed like they recently had a gang-bang with a cutlery drawer). The random pop/rock tunes livened things up too (I boogied to “I Like That” and that pop/rock song that played during the end credits... can't find the title) and the badass score by Tyler Bates got my three cherries! Loved it!
Unfortunately, I kept feeling that there was another movie that used to live here, a fuller and smarter one. The pace was so clipped and the turn of events so rushed that I was kept at a distance. Every time I started to give a shit, BOOM, they would cut to something else. Moreover; the story would cheat now and again, tossing a threat into the mix, solving the immediate attack and then CUTTING AWAY or FADING OUT before solving the whole problem. Result: they left me there asking myself: “Hey! How did they get out of that one? The alien was still around? WTF!”. Then we had the moronic moves to serve the plot. They were a-plenty! Mucho see through stupidity to force events to happen. Come on! Don't treat me like the imbecile that I am. I get enough of it in my every day life. Oh! And where was the suspense BTW? At my pad banging my poochie? They went for it, but director Gorack couldn't pull it off. Every kill was telegraphed and anticipation was on the low jive. The Photoshop-ish alien visual effects surely didn’t help in that department that's for sure. I esteemed the concepts and the ideas behind them, but the execution was a little too on the cheapo side for me.
PS: Apart from alien chunks flying my way, the 3D was meh. Not worth the jacked up price on my ticket. I heard they shot this with 3D cameras, no Post Conversion crud. I wouldn't have known! All in all the The Darkest Hour Was obviously edited by Edward Scissorhands on 10 lines of cocaine with a Studio monkey holding a gun to his head saying: "Make it quick, shallow and dumb NOW bitch!” Yup, no fat on this skeleton! AT ALL! Look I won't won't lie, on a good day, I can be an easy audience member and I did get some easy jolts out of this one. The movie was amusing and easy to tap; but once I got home and started breaking it down...yeah... no great shakes. An ideal "see it on DVD" affair. Maybe you can get trashed, have a double bill with Skyline and call it 4 hours well murdered. Survive that mofos and mofettes! Ho Ho Ho!
Unless you count peeps being disintegrated as gore. None.
T & A
Unless you count me scratching my left ball in the theaters as I watched it. None.
THE DARKEST HOUR looked sleek, made good use of its fly Moscow locations, sported a tight cast, cool disintegration/alien POV effects and I grooved to it's initial premise, no matter how unoriginal it was. Sadly the flick was a shell of what it could've been with little characterization, build up or anticipation and worse of all it sported zero scares. The 3D wasn't worth the extra coin either, the chain of events were rushed/choppy and I could've pulled off the alien creature effects they did here with my calculator. See it if you're seeking a good time waster or something to focus on while you're nailing some ugly chick on all fours. Back to that Whiskey bottle and arm wrestling my cool ass uncle Ray I go! Merry X-Mas!
The flick cost about $44,000,000 to make.
Leslie Bohem (The Horror Show) came up with the story with M.T. Ahern and Jon Spaihts (who also wrote the screenplay)
Cutie Olivia Thirlby will also be seen in Dredd (2012) as Cassandra Anderson.