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6/10
A fun alien invasion film without much pretentiousness
Gabriel Teixeira8 October 2013
While maybe not much better than what the ratings and reviews say, at the very least 'The Darkest Hour' has the fun factor going for it. There is not much for a plot: your typical alien invasion, where a group of survivors have to try and survive the attack while in Moscow.

Wait, Moscow?

One of the things I liked here was that there IS originality. Instead of another American city, or even Tokyo/London, this time around we watch Moscow under attack. Instead of having to see the characters running and hiding around the same New York for the nth time, we are presented an 'unknown' scenario that has a lot of charm going for it.

Another plus is the aliens themselves. Not your typical armor-wearing soldiers or 'greys', but in here they have a very original design (bodyless masses of light). It is sad to hear the clichèd excuse for their invasion, but they are very interesting to see.

Despite these flairs of originality, overall the film suffers from the typical B-movie sci-fi problems. The blandness of the cast and some logic-defying situations/developments (every Russian they meet speak perfect English, for example) are downsides, but the straight-forward plot, lack of an overly pretentious message and non-boring development more than compensate.

Overall, this is far from a great film but it is a fun straight-forward B-movie with some welcome flashes of originality. It more than succeeds on entertaining, as long as you don't over-blow your expectations.
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The Darkest Hour - A Series of Unfortunate Choices
FatMan-QaTFM27 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Christmas day! What a day for seeing movies! I really wanted to see Sir Brad Bird's Mission Impossible, but my friend wanted to see it with me, so I went for the next best thing: a Summit film. If you have can't the best, get the worst, Fat Man sez. Just going to start off with a disclaimer: SPOILER ALERTS. I won't say the movie was predictable, but it certainly wasn't rational. Throughout this review, I'll be throwing in some sane person/writer pop quizzes. Let's see how you stack up!

The Darkest Hour starts with our " " "heros" " " " – I really couldn't put enough quotes around that word – flying in to Moscow on the worst CG airplane I've ever seen. Nice, Summit. Sean and Ben are there to pitch their newest internet craze Apple phones apps – World Travel Hunter (I honestly don't remember) – to an investment group. They find that their Swedish buddy, Skyler, has ripped off their idea and is selling it as they walk in the room. WHOA!! In a fit of being sad, they end up at a hip hip Moscow night club with two of the stupidest people on the continent, Natalie and Anne. Now that we have our cast of dummies, aliens invade. They hide in the basement of the club for a week until the coast is clear.

POP QUIZ #1! Aliens have attacked and slaughtered most humans alive. You're an American in Moscow and still alive. What do you do? A) Head for the closest police station. B) Head for the closest military base. C) Head for the highest building to get a vantage point on the action. D) Head for the American Embassy.

If you chose D, you're in good company. Off they go! Oh wait, it's time for…

POP QUIZ #2! Aliens have attacked and slaughtered most humans alive. You're in Moscow and you know nothing except that they are out for blood. You've got to get to… *sigh*… the American Embassy. How do you get there? A) Try to move from building to building, using interconnects. B) Walk down the middle of the biggest street you can find, in full view of everything. C) Use the ancient Moscow sewer and tunnel systems. D) Take advantage of the extensive underground transit system.

If you answered B, not only was that the best choice, but you're still alive. Now at the embassy, they find nobody is there, but somehow discover there's a SUBMARINE leaving soon that will take them to relative safety. Joined by others along the way, they finally get on a boat to float down to the sub. Oh, Ben, Skylar, and Anne are now dead. Guess those choices weren't so good after all. A huge blast knocks the boat over, and everybody manages to make it to the sub 50 feet away except for Natalie…

FINAL QUIZ! #3 FOR ALL THE MARBLES! You are trying to get to the safety of a submarine when you're knocked in to the water. Do you.. A) Resurface, swim to the sub, and get in. B) Resurface, swim to the sub, and get in. C) Resurface, swim to the bank, walk 20 feet to the sub, and get in. D) Resurface, swim to the bank, head a half mile inland at a dead sprint, and hide in a bus.

If you chose D, you are the love interest of The Darkest Hour and we're supposed to be cheering for you to make it. Wow. Wow. Needless to say, or maybe I should since nothing else made sense, they retrieve her, kill a few aliens, and head off. The crappy VO at the end lets us know a few other aliens have been killed and one or two ships blown up. So? They're strip-mining the earth and then leaving.

I've aired most of my complaints already, but it's worth noting a few other things. Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella are no slouches, acting- wise, but you couldn't tell. Even good actors need direction, I suppose. I also take back everything I've said about wanting better monster design. These were completely original and completely horrible.

Darkest Hour really leaves me a little torn. On one hand, I enjoyed the film immensely. It's like watching a car full of Hollywood producers roll down a hill, catch fire, and burst in to flames. Beautiful and hilarious in its tragedy. On the other hand, this film got heavily marketed, released in over 2000 theaters, and did terrible in the box office. Hollywood complains that nobody wants to go to movies, nobody is buying tickets, it's all the fault of pirates, we need more more more restrictions so we can make every bit we can. Funny, the top monthly grosses have all happened since 2007, most since 2009, and 4 in 2011 alone. Who's not making enough money? This will also be held up as an example of why original work doesn't sell – more prequels, sequels, and remakes for everyone! Maybe if you had a screening process for scripts and gave creative control to directors and writers instead of a pile of producers, good, original work would be successful.

Merry Christmas everyone. Continue to vote with your dollar and give your hard earned cash to deserving movies.
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8/10
I don't get why there's so much hate for this movie
spmact5 April 2012
I don't know why critics panned this movie so much. Did they expect a different movie than what they saw? After seeing the trailer, this looked like a fun movie so I gave it a shot and was not disappointed. It was pretty much like I thought it was going to be. Sure the whole alien invaders thing has been done a lot, and this sticks to the formula to a certain extent (minus the annoying deus ex machina plot device), but it was original enough to set it apart.

The acting, while not Oscar worthy, was definitely fine for this genre of movie. The setting (deserted Moscow after the invasion) was well done, and the effects (apart from the opening airplane shot) were pretty good too. There was just enough suspense and action to keep things interesting, and while I didn't feel a deep bond with the characters, I still rooted for them to survive.

All in all, this was a pretty fun movie, and throughout it I keep wondering to myself why there were so many bad reviews because I was definitely liking it.

Don't listen to the "critics" who are too full of themselves and don't get this kind of movie; judge for yourself. If after seeing the trailer you think you'll enjoy the movie, you probably will (if you go into it unbiased). I definitely did.
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6/10
Original but lacking
sean-moser19 January 2012
The idea behind the darkest hour was original. It is nice to finally see something that hasn't been recycled from another movie, game, book, etc. That being said the main problems in the movie come from a rather dull open story. It leaves you with many unanswered questions. There are also many flaws in different aspects of the movie. Being an avid movie goer I give this a 6 out of 10 because of the original idea. But it could have been way better had they developed script better. The other flaw was the lack of graphics. They clearly spent very little on special effects. I feel that this should have been a TV movie. Not something to go see in the theater.
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8/10
A Lot Better Than The Ratings
Diet Bacon Cola1 April 2012
I was very skeptical to spend money on a movie with a 4.9 IMDb Rating but in the end of the day I went with my guts which never let me down. I saw the trailers back in summer 2011 and was already excited.

So what is the problem with this movie? Why does it have such bad reviews? The environment has a lot to with it. The movie is set in Moscow, the most actors are Russian and the 2 supposedly American girls are occasionally speaking with a British accent. This is probably a bit too much for a "patriot". The next point would be the acting, it is not that good and the special effects range from brilliant to not so brilliant but then again this is a 30 Million Budget movie, they city of Moscow went through hoops to make it happen by closing down main roads and entire quarters. The scenes when humans are getting killed are extremely well done an innovative and the whole plot is very exciting and doesn't give much time to breath.

If you aren't ignorant to let another country but the USA be the good guys for once you will simply love that movie, if your heroes must kiss the love interest in front of an American flag then forget about it.

Great movie, not so great actors but all in all enjoyable and 8 points for a new idea of an Alien Invasion.
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7/10
Better than you might think
NotSureifthisis773425 December 2011
Just got back from a screening of The Darkest Hour and honestly this film was better than I anticipated. I confess, I hadn't wanted to go at all but my friend insisted and so to keep the peace I went. Granted, the beginning is a uneven and it was unclear where the story was going but once it clicks in the thing moves right along. You are never sure who is going to die next and that helps keep the suspense level high. The acting is serviceable and the location is a refreshing change from the usual New York/Chicago skylines. It's frankly more interesting to watch the tale unfold against the dinginess of contemporary Moscow, and with Russian soldiers instead of Americans. Moreover, the special effects are simple, but effective.

In essence, invisible beings are here to steal our electricity and only insulators (e.g. glass or Faraday Cages) enable us to be hide from them. Because they are ruthless and utterly determined, there is no hope for negotiation, no chance for peace. Early on it is made clear either we win or we will be exterminated.

I liked everything about the movie, even though the alien invasion genre has gotten a bit tired of late. I was never bored and was always in suspense as to what would happen next. At 89 minutes, this joint Russian-American production probably could have taken more time with its story and characters, and not be in such a hurry to kill them off. Since the background is so different, maybe they could have shown us more of the city or used the locations more effectively.

Yet for all the obvious complaints one can make, the move works if you let it. I believe viewers will find it worth their while. Take it for what it is, and I honestly think you will have a good time at The Darkest Hour.
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8/10
Not sure what the big deal is
martinemcmahon2 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
First off, don't get my review title wrong, I actually found the movie rather fascinating given my initial expectation. My title is more directed at the reviewers who crutch their poor reviews on the aspect of originality.

For one, what is there to expect out of an alien movie these days? They're either friendly, or they're blood thirsty, this movie being an example of the later. Now, given they're bloodthirsty, how many various, and colorful reasons can there be for an alien invasion? Anyone having taken a 9th grade social studies class can tell you that initial invasions of a hostile intent happen for one of 3 reasons, territory, resources, or religion. This movie, *SPOILERS* eventually, made the hypothesis that the initial invasion was for resources. */SPOILERS* How many "original" concepts can we really ask for out of those 3 categories?

Here's what I noticed defining this movie from other alien invasion concepts: *SPOILERS* 1. They weren't identifiable, humanoid invaders. That definitely gave me a different perspective on differing lifeforms. 905 of the alien movies I see, even if they try to hide their true form, end up being mostly humanoid in shape. 2. There was no identifiable warning for the alien attack. It just happened, and it was sudden. 3. It was through the perspective of every day schmucks who had to figure it all out on their own. There were no convenient plot devices like a misc. scientist who just popped up and already knew all of the answers. 4. The mode of fighting back was a gradual process. There was no sudden discovery of a super weapon that could kill the aliens with no issue. 5. It delved MUCH much further into the human aspect of an alien invasion than I've seen out of a lot of alien movies. It really made me think of how "normal" people might react in that situation. */SPOILERS*

It most certainly is not the most creative alien movie I have seen in a long while, I reserve that for "Paul", but it most certainly was not "unoriginal". They took the reference of an alien invasion for our resources, which is a common plot device, but changed the perspective, eventual solution, and even the antagonistic element. I haven't seen that since Battle of Los Angeles, though that movie only received a 2 so I guess I shouldn't really be surprised Darkest Hour is getting this kind of rating.

Also, not to try and call anyone specific out, but it's easy to say something like "It's unoriginal" while giving no hint as to what you think would constitute as an original idea...I keep reading these reviews that have the phrase "It's unoriginal" stretched out into 3 paragraphs.
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8/10
Exactly what Sci-Fi fans love and film critics miss the point
mariner11 January 2012
In a world of mostly straight to video lower budget scifi movies or the hit and miss affairs of Sci-Fi original movies, The Darkest Hour was a real joy.

The ghost-like concept of the invaders was well conceived. Adding tension in droves, much like the original alien movie, with the what you can't see lets your mind be more creative. The lack of need for constant CGI of the aliens seemed to allow more budget and creativity on the other more subtle effects, creating a much more believable world. The floor of light bulbs effects, used similarly to the motion detectors in the Aliens movie, was cool.

It seems the film critics have again missed the point and glories of this movie. What they seemed to punish for I personally found to be the movies greatest achievements. Efficient, well conceived plot to me, seen as lacking to the critics. The not trying to save the whole world, ala Independence Day, but focusing on rag tag group of unprepared survivors worked, as it does in AMC's series The Walking Dead. The restrained use of 3D, meaning few objects flying out the screen or visual overdose leading to headache like the latest Transformers movie. The 3D effects added significantly to the sites of Moscow, giving a true sense of the size of Red Square and hence the immersion a 3D movie should give.

The Darkest Hour. Solid entertainment and great way to see Moscow without a 12hr flight. Ignore the critics and make up your own mind.
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7/10
enjoyable sci-fi!
tmanbball9 January 2012
This was a bit of fun to watch, nothing special, like an above average sci-fi channel flick, but fun to watch nonetheless. Hasn't been a box office hit or getting much in the way of good reviews, but if basic alien invasion is your cup of tea, you will probably enjoy it too. I liked the aliens, not your usual lot, and the Moscow sets. The cast gave decent performances as well. I would have liked to see more of the invaders and would have liked a few more battle scenes, and could have enjoyed it just as well without the 3D effects. All things considered, I will add it to my collection when it's available on disc. Catch this during a matinée if you must, but you'll probably like it a whole lot more on a theater's big screen than waiting for HBO.
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8/10
A Fun B movie!!
mauro volvox30 March 2012
It is really hard to understand movie critics and audiences, because this is a nice movie with an interesting premise and a not so bad script.

Maybe the characters are a tad bland and nondescript but the story is entertaining enough and it kept my attention. It has a few clichés but in the end it was a good way to spend a 90 minutes or so.

The special effect were good enough considering the somewhat low budget, and the story moves at a good pace.

There are no confusing subplots, romance (it is a story of survival, there is no time for it) and other distractions.

I give it an 8!
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10/10
Absolutely loved it!!!
kuuk313 January 2012
I loved this film. Original aliens, in an original location. Cast that you had no idea were going to live or not.

I know many of the other reviewers didn't like the invisible alien (cough 'after effects' cough), but quite frankly, we've seen every flesh type alien going. This was trying to be different and i think it worked flawlessly.

What makes it better than say skyline is the fact that humans are given an unbeatable alien to begin with, but during the course of the movie, find a way to fight back.

I agree that the girl at the end swimming to the bus stop was stupid. I also think at some point they would have put on a ski-suit and wrapped themselves in tinfoil for obvious reasons. I also would have tried firing a water pistol at them at some point. I wondered what would have happened if it had rained or snowed as well.

But leaving those aside, this is a great end of the world, alien invasion film. Turn your brain off, sit back with the popcorn and enjoy the flick.
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7/10
Not everyone is ready for new ideas.
David Hardy1 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** The reviews of this movie are disappointing to me. It wasn't the greatest, but it did very well with the "think outside the box" mentality that today's cinema direly lacks.

For instance, nearly every alien movie to date is based on a humanoid figure with "advancements" on human technology. They have a head, limbs, vital organs, shoot lasers with guns and have super-powered bombs. These aliens do not. Furthermore, whether or not they have physical bodies is even in question- and their ability to bend light is something mankind likely won't possess anytime soon.

Nearly every thriller these days dealing with an invasion of some kind portrays nightfall as the "dangerous" time, and daytime as the "relatively safe mode". This movie switches that up- and what is the material they are able to hide behind? Glass. A material that we as humans can see through perfectly well, is the visual roadblock for these invaders. Even the way humanity is being exterminated is unique to this movie. Seems the people giving this a bad review aren't happy unless the bad guy is straight out of Halo with some kind of automatic space rifle.

Sure there's a few plot holes and unbelievable coincidences, but these days the amount of generic alien/zombie/plague/apocalypse movies coming out with slightly varied versions of the same dilemma aren't exactly boasting bulletproof material either. This movie takes an original idea and combines it with an original environment (whoa a movie not set in a country that speaks English?) and gets spit on because it's not the same recycled garbage we've seen for years?? Please.

I'm not saying it's a great movie, but it's certainly better than the plethora of alien invasion movies being farmed out by Hollywood. If you just see "invisible aliens" instead of "light bending energy- based non-humanoids", then you're the type of person directly contributing to the mind-numbing amount of refuse our entertainment seems to propagate itself with.
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3/10
A Nutshell Review: The Darkest Hour
DICK STEEL21 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Granted I wasn't expecting a great deal from The Darkest Hour, where the trailers have probably spelt out the entire film from beginning to end, and more than validated it to be nothing but a special effects extravaganza. Then again, what you have already seen is it, as The Darkest Hour indeed is the darkest in terms of filmmaking, having nothing else served up to excite nor to thrill, sticking to what would be a rote storyline packaged hundreds of times over.

The selling point of the film is of course Timur Bekmambetov's name on the credits, a filmmaker who had made everyone sit up and take notice of his inventive, stylish science fiction films out of Russia - Night Watch and Day Watch - that Hollywood had come wooing, and from then on it's either producer creds to help boost some languishing production, or allowing the filmmaker to helm his own like in Wanted. Not everything he touches turns to gold of course, and sadly The Darkest Hour boasted what could have been something he could have done, but ultimately falling very flat on its face because of the lack of freshness in its story, written by Leslie Bohem, M.T. Ahem and Jon Spaihts, who also had screenplay responsibilities.

The premise is as bland as you can get, and frankly can work in any other major city if not for the exoticness of Moscow, and Bekmambetov's connection of course. The characters too can be anyone other than the software engineering duo Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) who flew halfway across the world to find out they were outplayed by their Swedish competitor Skyler (Joel Kinnaman), and two holidaying teenage girls Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachael Taylor), who all got together in a hip pub, only for what could have led to respective one night stands interrupted by a parade of lights falling from the sky, which from the trailer you will know contain some mean, invisible aliens out to annihilate all of humankind for our energy.

Yes you read that right, invisible aliens. They have this innate ability to light up bulbs activate anything that's run by electricity, since it's a signature they carry, before being allowed to reveal something extra in the final few scenes. Sure, something invisible would work in playing up our fears, but the way director Chris Gorak did it, his inexperience shows. Similar genre films like Attack The Block built anticipation nicely, but here we get nothing of that sort of emotional engagement, as it teases through elements that suggest vulnerability and chinks in the adversary's armour, force fields of sorts that are entirely resistant to whatever arsenal us humans can throw at it, if we can get to realize their positions first.

The plot could have been written by any newbie hack sent packing home to watch countless of alien invasion and monster movies, to be able to come up with something that's really quite plain and lacking true suspense. In some ways it's like an amalgamation of science fiction films from I am Legend to other contemporary alien invasion type movies, except that we don't give a hoot too much for the characters involved here, so much so that the filmmakers have the audacity and courage to ensure equal opportunity to become alien fodder, which is a rarity.

Effects wise, this two trick pony will soon wear out its novelty, the first of which is the way the aliens turn humans and all living creatures into swirling dust upon contact, and the second of which is an electrical whip-like probe that goes feeling around for lifeforms. Nothing terribly original here, and after a while these limited bag of tricks do become a little stale. As for its 3D presentation, there's only depth of field, getting human dust falling all over, as well as having exploding debris hurtle toward the screen. Some large scale effects like collapsing walls and huge probes to siphon Earth's resources still looked a little bit raw,

Perhaps then if you're looking for any sliver of merit to watch this, it will be for the on- location shoots in Russia, as well as having this film mark what would be a rare treat at having Russian soldiers/mercenaries in action up against the enemy compared to the usual US led war machinery in any alien invasion film, and this one also marking a USA-Russia collaboration amongst survivors in this post-cold war era. But you need not have to look that deep into this film, because it's indeed a struggle to find something unique and of narrative quality, failing which The Darkest Hour is only at best a mediocre film that offers nothing new.
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1/10
Easily one of the worst films I've ever seen
akademikjeanius26 December 2011
The Darkest Hour is without a doubt one of the absolute worst films I've ever seen. You know how some really bad films are so bad that they're actually sort of good/funny? This isn't one of them. It's just plain bad. If it were a made-for-TV movie, it would still be one of the worst I've ever seen. The only positive thing I can say about the film is it has an interesting premise. The actual end product, however, is sickeningly dull. We had two children with us and they were bored out of their minds.

The plot is rife with clichés. Character development is hollow and heartless. The script is dreadful. No one in the theatre laughed at any of the jokes. The aliens are horribly designed. It's not scary. It's not thrilling. And don't even get me started on the soundtrack...

Ultimately, this movie is an insult to sci-fi and just cinema in general. I shudder to think of the amount of time and money put into this film that could have been used for something infinitely better. Please don't contribute to the waste.
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1/10
Don't waste your time or money
zemocarpathian8 January 2012
I would rate this film one star and that would be generous. The characters were one dimensional and you knew who was going to get killed a mile off. The special effects were on the level of a made-for-TV-movie on the sci-fi channel. The 3D was needless because there was nothing enhanced since the special effects and the aliens were practically non-existent. I would advise to save your money and time and stay home and watch a good sci-fi DVD. This movie would have appealed to children from 10-15 years old, with absolutely no knowledge of what constituents a good movie experience, plot or special effects. When it was finally over, I wished that I could have gotten my time and/or money back.
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2/10
Just terrible!
www.ramascreen.com25 December 2011
This isn't going to take much time. THE DARKEST HOUR is extremely bad, it's terrible. It's a poorly written, poorly acted, poorly directed sci-fi film with unexceptional VFX, that sucked its way into theaters only because it's produced by Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Day Watch, Wanted).. I've seen B-sci-fi films that are better than this. What an excruciating way to spend the holidays, in a theater watching a time-waster like THE DARKEST HOUR. It's a collection of dreadful dialogue and talents like Joel Kinnaman who can be of more use elsewhere, in other gigs. I admit the concept is interesting, like what those alien sparks are actually made up of and how those floating sparks of energy decimate its victims, there also are scenes worth noting because they intend on making the characters selfless and heroic but you don't really feel that emotionally because the script is far from good enough to even think about reaching that emotional believable strength, the speeches are unbearable, the 3D is pointless. The thrills or the sequences that are meant to be suspenseful are neither new nor creative. And I can't help but feel that the entire film is nothing but a weak attempt to promote tourism for Moscow. The young key actors: Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirlby, have a few critically acclaimed films on their resumes, like Into The Wild, The Social Network, and Juno respectively, and so seeing them in this poor excuse for a sci-fi action/thriller is just painful to watch.
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1/10
Unfortunately, the aliens didn't win.
Acks King13 April 2012
I guess they wanted us to sympathize with the aliens for a change and they succeeded. Humans as portrayed by the cast are so pathetic you'll be begging for the aliens to finish them already. And guess what just like all the extraterrestrials that came before them these are none the better. You would think they learned a thing or two about pesky humans after all their attempts at conquest, but no, they are none better than Hollywood. They just never learn. All they do is provide us with some eye candy and then get beat by some smoking hippies. Damn if they didn't have the technology to exterminate a bunch of wussies couldn't they borrow some of our own radar and homing missiles, seems to do the job here on earth. This is what happens when you hire someone from Hollywood to do the job for you. The next time, I'd suggest them to wipe out Hollywood first, then maybe they'll have a chance. Even so, come soon little aliens and save us this BS.
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8/10
An above average movie for the alien invasion genre
MosHr23 December 2011
My review is going to be extremely biased because I love these kinds of movies. I thought Skyline was quite entertaining and Battle Los Angeles pretty good, though I never liked Independence Day for some reason.

The movie derives heavily from other movies in the genre. We get the zapper from War of the World that zaps humans to ash, iridescent aliens from Skyline but they're yellow here, and the empty city from Vanishing on 7th Street except that the city here is Moscow. Similar to the above movies, we follow a small group of survivors as they try to escape the human extermination. The alien invaders eschew WMDs and choose "hand to hand" combat, patrolling as near invisible ball of sparks and zapping humans to ash as they find them.

One thing I should probably clarify is that this is a sci-fi movie and not a horror movie. I am making this distinction because the aliens though deadly and powerful do have their limitations that create rules for surviving and fighting them.

Another thing I noted was that the movie really respects its Russian characters even though the movie is presented through American eyes. I noticed that Timur Bekmambetov was a producer in the movie and had probably something to do with it. We meet the heroic soldiers fighting the aliens, the resourceful young girl, and the crazy scientist using homemade equipment to figure out the aliens. This is quite refreshing since most American productions in foreign countries suffer from this malaise that they make the local characters weak and one dimensional.

If you like this genre, this is an above average movie in the genre and quite entertaining. I don't think it manages to rise above its genre but as an action, sci-fi movie with 3D and lots of special effects it's worth the ticket price.
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3/10
Low Light=Lower-Budget
derekblake31 December 2011
Well what can I say, a good storyline ruined by budgetary constraints. It seems these days that the latest way of reducing the post-production expense is to shoot an invisible alien at night. The acting was just above amateur, in fact I have seen many amateur performances that would make this production look like a school project. The ending was such that it was either left open to pave the way for a sequel or because they totally ran out of money at one hour and twenty-five minutes. The film ends where the story really begins, such a same not to have realised the true potential of the screenplay. The concept of the aliens was unusual and I must say fairly original, however one has to suspend any knowledge of physics in order to make them believable. Aliens that seem to be of pure electrical energy explode with a shower of solid matter when killed, which makes no sense whatsoever. Please, someone with a real skill for production and direction do a remake, Stephen Spielberg are you listening?
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1/10
Don't Waste Your Money
deadworld26 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
We went to see this Christmas night. The entire family thought this was horrible. We were ready to leave 20 minutes into it. We (I) was hoping for it to get good and was sorely disappointed: it only got worse. The dialog was below amateurish, the acting was poor, the story/plot ridiculous. Don't Waste Your Money! Wait for Netflix or Cable TV. Not worth paying for. The only redeeming thing about this movie was some of the special effects. Most were done fairly well, but the aliens themselves, once their invisible shields were disrupted, were nothing more than scary looking Pokemon type creatures. It was a big letdown. This whole movie was a big letdown.
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3/10
"Survive the holidays" - by not watching this film
Peter Hollo23 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
2 software geeks arrive to Moscow to sell their idea to some big shots so that they can earn millions of dollars. The film, of course, is up- to-date in terms of referring to GPS and social networking and touchscreen etc. when this brand new idea is being discussed by the characters. The boys are about to join a meeting when it turns out one of their competitors stole their idea and he is about to cash-in on it.

No matter: searching for some girls for a one-night-stand in a bar in Moscow seems to make all the bad things go away. Except, of course, if there were no blackouts due to some alien race that suddenly falls from the sky in the middle of the night. The creatures are practically invisible and by touching a human being they can simply turn them into dust.

Sean and Ben, our IT heroes, are hiding with their newly-found (girl)friends only to realise that not-knowing the big picture won't save their lives. And, of course, hiding in the US embassy's building would probably be more convenient than doing the same thing in the basement / store room of a Russian night club.

Their journey of traversing from one place to another very slowly and pointlessly starts and 60 minutes-or-so later ends in a fight against these barely visible, not-scary-at-all creatures while they are fighting alongside a Russian electrician(or plumber?) and some bad ass Russian mercenaries / soldiers / veterans.

The Darkest Hour is a horrible film. Everything is bad: acting, plot, conclusion, what-have-you. The visual effects are decent but nowadays you can expect it from such a picture - this is the bare minimum such products have to offer. One can easily guess that Timur Bekmambetov's name was only added to make sure more people will go and watch this garbage - even if the decent CGI and Russian milieu (not to mention the use of many Cyrillic letters) are all his signature elements these cannot sell something that is severely underdeveloped. It was a huge disappoint seeing Emile Hirsch in such a film after the remarkably well-done Into The Wild. The repertoire of Emile and his companions includes such wonderful sentences as: "Don't got there!", "We're gonna die!", and "But we have to try it!"

There is not one single part of the film that's worth watching. Avoid it, if you can, and if you cannot really find anything to watch during the holidays, please, re-watch some of the classics and forget The Darkest Hour has been made.
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5/10
Fun but formulaic sci-fi thriller that should have been more
moviexclusive29 December 2011
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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1/10
How did this movie get made?
We Watched A Movie10 April 2012
So basically a group of young adults are partying in Moscow when the power shuts off and orange orbs of light begin to fall from the sky. Then these orbs begin to become invisible and start disintegrating people by the masses. So now that we have that deep, deep plot out of the way, lets begin. How did this movie get made? Apparently around 30 Million dollars worth of special effects was spent on what exactly? Invisible aliens? The special effects were of the Sci Fi Channel variety. The large scoped landscape shots of Russia in the aftermath of destruction were obvious CGI. I can't fill you in on how the acting was because the script was so laughable it would have made Marlon Brando look like Hannah Montana. That being said, the acting was terrible. Emile Hirsch gave his all but the rest of the cast gave up half way through. I got the sense that the unknown actresses gave up, laughing at the script between takes. Solutions just magically pop out of thin air time and time again with no explanation. It's as if light bulbs literally pop on above our hero's heads and suddenly they have years of Scientific knowledge and are experts in electromagnetism. The explanation? "I watched shark week." That's not a joke guys, that was the explanation. So bottom line? It's a B movie void of the humor or charm that makes B movies lovable. The worst part? They weren't trying to make a B movie, they were trying to make a blockbuster. One of the worst movies I have ever sat through.
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8/10
Surprisingly good
Dave Wood17 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Enjoy this film in the spirit it was made, a sci-fi thriller, for those from the big country it means that it's loosely based on science and nowhere (not spelt "no were", idiot!) does it pretend to be anything else. Now to the review this was a straight forward film that seemed to end much quicker than the 86 minutes and that indicates that this film engaged me, you'll have to concentrate to get the science references all relatively based on electricity, the actors were good as were the writers and location, with one scene flowing to the next without me having to figure things out, the plot is the same as most of this type of film, the aliens are here to steal our planet but done on a refreshingly different way, glad I went to see this one.
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3/10
Terrible Film with Many Fake Reviews in IMDb
Claudio Carvalho18 April 2012
The American software designers Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) travel to Moscow to sell their software in a business meeting with investors. However, their Swedish partner Skyler (Joel Kinnaman) pulls a fast one on Sean and Ben and they are out of the business.

Sean and Ben go to a nightclub, where they meet the American Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachael Taylor) and they flirt with the girls and see Skyler in the club. Out of the blue, the population is surprised by lights that seem to be an Aurora Borealis. But sooner they learn that the lights are aliens invading Earth and using power supply to annihilate the 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 persons on Earth?

"The Darkest Hour" is a terrible sci-fi film with many fake reviews in IMDb promoting this flick (click on the author's name of the favorable reviews and see how many reviews they have in IMDb).

The storyline and the screenplay seem to be inspired in the also awful "Skyline", but taking place in Moscow instead of in Los Angeles. Fortunately I have just seen this boring film on DVD and it was possible to rewind to see the part when I slept despite being an action sci-fi film. The worst, the end of the story has the clear intention to be continued. My vote is three.

Title (Brazil): "A Hora da Escuridão" ("The Darkness Hour")
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