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Being a fan of apocalyptic movies, I recorded one that was described as such and last night finally got the chance to watch it. The Darkest hour is a low budget film without a low budget! With a budget of $30 million it somehow smashed that and raked in over $64 million at the Box Office, but to anyone who actually parted with any part of those millions, I really feel for you!
The film describes itself as an apocalyptic one, but it has elements of sci fi. It starts off pretty low key with two Americans, Ben and Sean (played by Max Minghella and Emile Hirsch) who travel to Moscow in the hope of selling their ideas for social network / party locating software. Things don't quite go to plan and they soon find themselves in a nightclub drowning their sorrows and eyeing up two girls they just happen to have seen on some social network. They all make friends and are having a jolly old time until the power goes. When the clubbers make their way outside, everyone is stood staring at the sky at what looks like the Northern Lights, until the lights start falling out of the sky. Panic quickly erupts when the lights start evaporating humans into dust. This sounds fairly ridiculous writing this but even at this point I was thinking, 'okay, just go with it!'. My husband was rolling his eyes and quickly nodded off to sleep, but given the similarities it seemed to have with War of The Worlds (and we all know how successful that was), I figured I just had to believe what I was seeing and would enjoy it.
After a few scenes of panic, the four tourists soon find themselves in a cat and mouse chase with the crazy lights that actually end up being invisible and can only be seen when near electrical items (yes really!). There are some pretty impressive scenes such as when they are in Red Square there isn't one soul in the whole place. There are plenty of scenes that make any good work they have done completely pointless, such as them telling you they have been hiding out in a basement for 26 hours, going in when it was pitch black but coming out in broad daylight. Yes this could have just been early morning but it didn't feel like that. Another scene saw a burnt out car with no smoke coming from it whatsoever, I'm no fire expert but would imagine there would still be some smoldering going on!
I can't quite work out why the film was set in Moscow, other than the whole cast got a free holiday. It wasn't needed at all, and could have been filmed anywhere. Some of the accents were laughable and some of the acting from the ones that did genuinely sound like they were from Moscow was pretty appalling, so it begs the question why they chose it to film their entire film there.
I'm not really going to go into the story much more other than to tell you it involves a nuclear submarine, Russian men on horses with chainmail all over, men with flare guns that looks like something they picked up from the wardrobe department of Ghostbusters and some pretty predictable endings...........
I can't quite work out why on earth I stuck with this film. The first half an hour seemed promising, like it could actually go somewhere, but it turned into a complete cheese fest with okay CGI, appalling (and pretty irritating) acting, complete with a scene where Sean gives a speech about doing it for mankind and it actually has weepy music playing in the background. Give me strength.
Quite an entertaining film, it just seemed to massively miss the mark somehow, the casting was atrocious and resulted in some pretty awful acting. The four main characters weren't likeable in any way shape or form and were pretty irritating actually. Given that this is a life or death situation and there are freaky alien things chasing them through Moscow, they seemed to have no volume control or ability to speak quietly, or ability to evade being seen (ducking down would have satisfied me, but no!), something which thoroughly annoyed me as it just made it quite unrealistic. The effects are most likely what carried the film to the profits that it made. I've just found this online which pretty much just sums up everything I thought 'The film was criticized for having a "flat lining screenplay and the absence of even a single compelling character" as well as for being "a depressing failure of imagination"'.
Running for 89 minutes, it actually felt much longer than that.
Release Date: 13th January 2012, it's currently showing on Sky Movies if you really want to waste 89 minutes of your life. If you are even more mental and wish to actually part with money for this horrendous film then it will be released on DVD in May!
Currently holds 12% on Rotten Tomatoes.
I came across this and thought the title seemed interesting, but as I hadn't heard of it before I didn't want to read too much in to the blurb. I therefore didn't know what to expect, but it none the less wasn't what I had thought it would be. Whilst it made for easy, mindless viewing, this isn't something I'd greatly recommend for acting or premise.
The Darkest Hour was directed by Chris Gorak, who has done or or two things within the movie industry but only one other directing role (Right at Your Door). After watching it, I'd say this falls in to the sci-fi genre; I'm not always a fan of sci-fi flicks but some can be done really well. Unfortunately, this wasn't really one of them.
We're introduced to Sean and Ben, two young American software designers who hoping to get lucky and get rich by selling their software idea. They head to Moscow for a meeting with investors where they hope to charm and impress them, except what they don't realise is that business is a cut throat industry. Upon arrival, they find that Skyler, their Swedish partner, has taken their idea to the investors himself, rendering the two Americans unnecessary and out of business. They're obviously furious, yet seem to do nothing, leaving the building without their idea and without being millionnaires.
Perhaps they could take their idea elsewhere, but for now they are disheartened. They're also in Moscow, and make the most of it by heading to a nightclub to drown their sorrows and chat up some girls. There they meet Natalie, a fellow American, and Anne, an Australian, best friends who are obviously interested in the two guys. All seems okay until Skyler waltzes in and antagonises them. The bitterness doesn't last for long because everyone is distracted, suddenly caught off guard by hundreds of lights in the sky outside. Thinking it's a natural phenomenon, everyone stands and stares, amazed. Turns out, these lights zap around really quickly and if you get zapped, you're dust. Literally, you disappear.
And there we have it, the premise in a nut shell. The rest of the film really follows this group of two American inventors, two best girl friends and one pitiful Skyler, as they try to outrun and survive the killer lightning. What is this light? Why is it annihilating everything in sight? Has it wiped out more than Moscow, perhaps the whole world?
First impressions of the film? Probably that the premise wasn't thought out very well. It didn't make that much sense, wasn't clear what was going on, and a few plot holes really weakened the storyline to the point where it felt ridiculous. Obviously, suspending reality and everything you know needs to be done to enjoy a sci-fi like this, but that aside, I just didn't get it. I was sat there thinking 'why don't you do this...?', 'why are you doing that??', 'that doesn't make much sense' etc. I found it difficult to watch without picking holes in it. What made it worse was really the ending, or rather, the lack of a real conclusion. I couldn't really be sure what the grand plan was to save the world by the end, but the film still ended there and the credits rolled, and it felt disappointing. You sit through a film, don't enjoy it that much, and then feel like you've been cheated out of an ending because they couldn't think of a suitable one for such a silly premise.
The cast includes Emile Hirsch (Sean), Max Minghella (Ben), Olivia Thirlby (Natalie), Rachael Taylor (Anne) and Joel Kinnaman (Skyler), amongst others. The acting was so-so because I have seen far worse, but it definitely could have been better. Characters didn't really have much depth and clichéd relationships meant that nothing new was really done here. I didn't feel like the film and cast were able to create any emotion, so I wouldn't say I felt anything much for the characters or what they were going through, meaning the film wasn't particularly gripping because I wasn't too bothered what happened to anyone. On the other hand, having a basic plot and simple characters did make it easier to watch because it didn't require any thought and if you dozed off for a few minutes you wouldn't miss much.
There was lots of action which helped keep the pace reasonably upbeat, and a few big scenes with special effects as the lightning / entities destroyed Moscow. Some effects were done quite well, others, such as one scene on a moving bus, weren't quite as good. I wouldn't say it struck me as a huge budget film because more could have been invested, not just in to effects but cast and script too. It felt too bland and stereotypical, so there wasn't anything that really stood out as being original or memorable.
What irked me really was the stupidity of some scenes, and the resulting lack of believability. This distracted from a sense of atmosphere; it should have been darker, more end-of-the-world disastrous and fearful than it was. At one point they whipped out some alien annihilation guns, which brought Ghostbusters to mind. All in all, it seemed like a silly premise that wasn't made strong enough to be anything more than a run of the mill silly flick.
Would I recommend? I can't really say that I would. I actually half enjoyed watching the main characters, but I wasn't fussed about anything else and irritated myself by thinking about the premise too much when it seemed like the writers hadn't thought about it enough. Aside from the action and some effects, it just seemed silly and not one I'd recommend spending money on to watch.
DVD released 2012, running time 85minutes, rated Certificate 12
Selling on Amazon for £7.99
To start I must say I thought before I watched this that it was either going to be really good or equally as bad. So I was happy when I watched it and really enjoyed it, the cast in this film are some up and coming actors and actresses in hollywood right now. I will pick out the biggest of them and that is Emile Hirsch, yes I am a little biased as he is one of my favourite actors however his performance in this film shows off his talent and he really keeps the film going. In the beginning you instantly get the character, he is a care free guy who is always positive and has a entrepreneurial mind. His friend on the other hand is up tight and very focused, which seems odd for a friend, and partnership in their App they go to Russia to sell.
They arrive and are immediately ripped off by a swedish guy who works for the company they were meeting, they do what a lot of people would do in that situation and go to a local club for a drink, using the app they invented which is of course a social networking app, they find another american woman and her Australian friend. They then start to have a good night that is abruptly stopped when the light go out and as they exit the lights go out across the whole of Russia and they stare into the sky where the aliens are falling as rays of light. They are now in an epic struggle to survive the aliens and find other survivors.
The ending where not spectacular is really good and hints at a sequel but with limited Margin made on the film this is unfortunately a slim possibility.
I would Rate it 8/10
The plot revolves around two software designers who travel to Russia to sell their new APP for social networking and partying. Unfortunately they have their idea stolen by a Swedish competitor and end up in a bar where they meet a fellow American Girl and Australian Girl who are their on business. The evening is interrupted by a bright light in the sky outside which very much looks like a natural phenomena. This quickly changes to the light seperating into smaller lights which travel down to earth. The lights turn out to be alien beings who have come to earth to steal our natural resources and destroy all humans/animals using their unique capability of controlling electricity. On their route to survival they encounter a few friends along their way and a few deaths to boot. I wont go into any further details as to the plot/ending of the film however I will say that the ending was very poor.
The film has a fairly decent plot but could of been made into a much better alien invasion film, Good special effects, decent cast. If you liked Mars Attacks/Indepedence day then take a look at this film.
IMDB Rating 4.9/10