The Darkest Hour

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)

quick review:

Fear and darkness is certain in a movie where the world is coming to an end. If the reason behind the end is aliens, you need a constant sense of fear, and newer, scarier antics to keep you moving. The Darkest Hour might not give you that consistency in terms of a moving, slowly unfolding film but the background score (more so in beginning of the film) and the visuals will spook you enough.

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Director: Chris Gorak
Running time: 90 minutes
Genres: Action, Sci-fi
More Movie Info

For 89 mins, The Darkest Hour is a crisp, fairly-spine chilling film that gives you the necessary thrills, considering the only good part of the film are the visuals. But then again, a film about alien invasion banks heavily upon the visuals. It seems director Chris Gorak (also art director of Fight Club and director of Wanted) takes that pre-requisite a bit too seriously.

The Darkest Hour has flat characters, almost no plot development, but you forgive and forget it as you submerge in the chilly background music and the scary pace. The film starts in Moscow, as two Americans Sean and Ben arrive to sell some high-flying technological software. They meet two American girls eventually (Natalie and Anne – the fact that they don’t have second names, let alone a back story should give you enough proof about the lack of depth in the film) and party the night away.

It’s then that invisible aliens - what look like a lethal, dusty mirage - eat into the entire city, killing every single living being. We are shown the alien’s point-of-view as well – where humans look like walking tissues, and on coming in contact with them, humans get reduced to dust. The film then tracks how the survivors from their first attack (all four Americans and the handful Russians they meet on the way) battle their way through this apocalyptic mess they find themselves in.

If you need a couple of reasons to watch the film, you’ll be happy to know the effects and scare-factor is at its maximum. It’s a phenomenon I find most of these apocalyptic films have in common regardless of their basic plot. You are going to find the idea of the world (as you know it) coming to an end, extremely creepy. It’s a must-have in any film with such content (like The Day After Tomorrow and 2012).

The Darkest Hour banks on this factor. The first half hour is truly terrifying, and you learn to ignore the unexciting acting of the lead foursome (Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor and Max Minghella) but soon enough you realize the color palate, the plot development and the threat (aka the aliens) are all pretty flat.

It’s simple; if the aliens are going to be invisible, the plot has the keep the viewer hooked on by topping the horror-factor every now and then. What you see The Darkest Hour is the same incident being repeated again and again. People dying the same way (barring one bus sequence which keeps you on the edge of seat), and only sporadically, you get spooked by some unexpectedness.

The real winner of The Darkest Hour is the cinematographer, Scott Kevan, who puts in front of us an extremely gripping visual of a dark city under threat by supernatural forces. It’s this sight that will bring you chills more than dusty, invisible aliens, repetitive background scores and one-dimensional, predictable performances.

This review is by guest reviewer Swetha Ramakrishnan. Swetha Ramakrishnan is currently living and working in Mumbai. She's a self-confessed film enthusiast and can most likely be found talking to anyone and everyone about popular cinema and her love for SRK. Swetha Ramakrishnan also blogs at

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: No blood and gore, but a killing spree
  • Language: No expletives
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Only one scene of a girl changing her clothes, but not full nudity
  • Concept: Predictable alien invasion flick
  • General Look and Feel: Mostly blue tones and enormous landscapes

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
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