Giovanni's Blu-ray Review: THE DARKEST HOUR
Published: May 7, 2012 - 3:28pm
The electrifying science-fiction thriller The Darkest Hour arrives on 3D Blu-ray™, Blu-ray and DVD from Summit Entertainment. Emile Hirsch (Speed Racer, Into the Wild), Max Minghella (Ides of March, The Social Network) and Olivia Thirlby (TV’s “Bored to Death,” Dredd) star in this story of five young people who find themselves stranded in Moscow and fight to survive in the wake of a devastating alien attack.
In the 70’s, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws revolutionized monster movies, showing Hollywood that seeing less can actually be more. The film’s big bad shark was seldom seen, making it a far more terrifying threat. In The Darkest Hour, director Chris Gorak adopts that same philosophy, though unsuccessfully. In the sci-fi thriller, a group of Americans meet up in Moscow, only to find themselves in the midst of a mysterious and deadly invasion. But the creatures aren’t your average little green men; they’re orange sparks of light capable of turning humans into a pile of ash in seconds. In survival stories like this, electricity is usually man’s best friend, providing salvation. Here, the writing team adds an interesting twist on the genre by making light, radios, and cell phones a source of fear as all things power-driven attract the mysterious killers.
While it’s a good idea in principle, the execution is positively uninspired leaning too heavily on clichés. What should be tense becomes all too predictable as it becomes incredibly obvious every time one of the creatures is going to strike next. Why bother making invisible threats if you’re not going to utilize the great potential for incalculable terror? “Why bother” too often feels like the filmmakers’ mindset going into the project as the terribly dull characters hit cliché after cliché on their survival mission. Luckily, much more effort is put into the special effects turning each death into a spectacular display of body disintegrating. It’s a great touch that keeps The Darkest Hour from being a total bore. If the direction or writing were as creative as the effects, we’d be looking at one fun ride.
Special Features Breakdown
- The disc continues the story with a short film chronicling the stories of other survivors fighting the alien threat. It goes into more detail on what exactly the aliens, tying up some loose ends left after the film’s annoyingly vague ending. It’s a cool inclusion for those who want to delve into the fictional world a little more, though the quality isn’t any better than the feature.
- A behind-the-scenes feature gives a look into the film’s noteworthy visuals. Special effects junkies will find a lot of value in the extra as it takes them through the entire process. The filmmakers even share very early tests and concept art, giving a full look into the development.
- There are a handful of understandably cut scenes included, most of which are character-centric. Considering the characters are the least interesting part of the film, it’s easy to see why they were cut. And some are so brief it feels like the filmmakers were stretching to find extra tidbits for the disc.
The electrifying science-fiction thriller The Darkest Hour arrives on 3D Blu-ray™, Blu-ray and DVD April 10th from Summit Entertainment. Emile Hirsch (Speed Racer, Into the Wild), Max Minghella (Ides of March, The Social Network) and Olivia Thirlby (TV’s “Bored to Death,” Dredd) star in this story of five young people who find themselves stranded in Moscow and fight to survive in the wake of a devastating alien attack.
With Moscow’s classic beauty as the backdrop, The Darkest Hour features mind-blowing special effects from the minds of visionary filmmakers Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) and Chris Gorak (Fight Club, Minority Report). The suspense never lets up as the invaders begin their assault on Earth, targeting the planet’s power supply.
Once the credits roll, see what happens next in The Darkest Hour: Survivors, an all-new short film following the rebel resistance around the globe! The fight continues as freedom fighters in Tokyo, Malibu and Afghanistan work together to develop new technology and strike a major blow to the alien invaders.