Stephen Hawking stands vindicated; if only viscerally and through the movies. But in all likelihood, he may not have imagined that alien invasion could make such a crashing bore of a subject in film.
In this film, to be precise; one that aspires to seduce the amateur urban horror buff. I am one, not particularly drawn towards this genre, but it failed to make any impact whatsoever and lost, in the process, a potential admirer, a convert for life.
The fear here is produced from the invisible, the unseen adversary which can destroy earth in a matter of minutes. "They can see us but we can't see them," grizzles a dimwit. New York, London, Paris and Tokyo are already in the grip of alien attack, we are told early on but it is in Moscow that the real action takes place. In the razzle-dazzle of the Moscow twilight, five unexpected allies come together to take on the aliens and the remainder of this picture is spent on how they manage to stay
alive in the face of human casualties around them.
Indeed, the idea of an invisible entity and having to contend with such a force merits a lot more than just cheap thrills, as director Chris Gorak resorts to. The aliens are here to raid energy and that's precisely the kind of area that should have been sharply developed with scientific evidence and imaginative skill. What new does The Darkest Hour say than we already know? If the purpose of the film is to send a chill down our spine, why is that chill conspicuously missing?
It is as if scenes of explosions, widespread destruction, buildings crashing down and humans blown to pieces can pass for all that extraterrestrial forces are capable of and in that, The Darkest Hour becomes another stereotypical take on aliens versus humans.
In the scenes where they actually show the aliens, they appear to be the brainchild of a failed, maladroit artist. If it had allowed itself greater scope, The Darkest Hour might have been more endurable. In its present form, it is a serious failure of imagination and a crisis in mid-life creativity.