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The Darkest Hour (2011)

Survive The Holidays

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 89 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A

A World War Two film? No, this is a sci-fi-horror monstrosity that’s just Skyline taken to Russia. Certainly Hirsch and Gorak’s darkest hour.

In this version of an alien invasion, the earth is taken over by energy-based life forms that target the world’s energy supplies. In the aftermath of a near total defeat, five friends who were holidaying in Moscow – including Sean (Hirsch) and his love interest Natalie (Thirlby) – begin humanity’s fightback against their unwelcome guests.

Emile Hirsch and the rest of the poorly acted friends don’t do a good job of making these any more than a forgettable bunch of alien cannon fodder. It pains me to say this as Hirsch was incredible in Into the Wild and also put in sterling turns in Milk and Killer Joe too but here he comes across as too much of a jerk from the off and looks like a poor man’s Leonardo DiCaprio. The others are whiny and hugely unlikable and it’s no shame when they are inevitably picked off.

This is meant to be a sci-fi horror but the nasty aliens are of the least scary variety. These purdy wisps of glittery air are too bland and non-descript to make you jump even once and make the killer houseplants of the equally awful The Happening look terrifying in comparison. Then the movie becomes a cheap and tacky Ghostbusters rip off as the guys don proton packs and the ridiculous action ensues. Usually transplanting the action to a new and interesting destination works, like with 28 Days Later, but you need a decent plot and good characterisation to back it up and The Darkest Hour falls well short.

It's Got: Poor acting, ridiculous action

It Needs: More likable characters, better acting, less amusingly bad aliens


Transferring a tried and tested formula to a new location is normally a banker but thanks to poor acting and characterisation and ridiculous aliens this horror sci-fi is just awful.