Thursday, October 04, 2012

Horror Thoughts ‘12—The Darkest Hour (2011) *½

PG-13, 89 min.
Director: Chris Gorak
Writers: Jon Spaihts, Leslie Bohem, M.T. Ahern
Starring: Emile Hirsh, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman, Veronika Vernadskaya

The biggest crime of the sci-fi thriller “The Darkest Hour” is formula dependence with out any understanding of dramatic drive. This movie clicks off plot points like a PowerPoint presentation, but is severely lacking in character and story development and good dialogue. You gotta admire Emile Hirsh’s attempts to make some of this goofy dialogue sound like something someone might actually say. He fails, but he tries.

The story involves a couple of Mark Zuckerberg wanna be’s, who are in Russia to sell their travel social connection software program for millions. Why their expertise in networking doesn’t ever come into play later on down the line, I don’t know. The screenwriters must’ve missed that section of the class. After a colleague stabs them in the back, strange lights fill the Moscow sky and begin to fall. It turns out this is an alien invasion. These alien beings, which remain mostly invisible throughout the movie, attack by rapidly burning people into ashes. Since they’re invisible, it doesn’t take long for most of the population to be wiped out.

It’s not that it’s a bad premise. I like the non-traditional alien life form. Unfortunately, the lack of visibility means you can’t treat it like just any typical alien monster threat, but here they do. It’s just a monster that the heroes run from and eventually turn to fight. Some more imagination in how to fight it would’ve been welcome. The movie also lacks any sort of universal lesson or commentary about the world we live in, which is a requirement of most good science fiction. To have such a unique threat, it’s a great shame the writers couldn’t come up with any sort of statements about our reliance on technology or light or something to give the alien more purpose than just something from which the characters must flee.

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