January 3, 2012
The plot goes something like this: a couple of would be software developers arrive in Moscow hoping to sell their social networking creation. They find they have been double crossed by a conniving, self involved Swede. So, they go out to drown their sorrows at a nightclub where they meet a fellow American and her Brit friend, who happen to recognize them from their website (yeah, right). They also meet up with the Swede. At this moment they hear a ruckus outside. They all head outside to see these lights falling from the sky, land and disappearing.
It turns out these lights are aliens with bad intentions. Our world has been whittled down to a group of survivors and we follow them as they walk around and hide, run around and hide, and occasionally stop for some poorly executed exposition, you know, to make sure the story gets across.
I don't know. I like the setup and the general direction they go in, but when I comes right down to it, this is a silly movie where logic does not belong. There is some awful dialogue and scenes that defy explanation and do no always relate to what came before. They set up rules for the creatures but then break them, never really settling on what they can or can't see. Also, the random, exposition heavy, visit to Mr. Sergei, the Russian electrician in the Faraday Cage. Although, I have to say the biggest stretch of believability is when they all get dumped in the river to find one of their own missing and she turns up pretty far inland. What was that about?
The Darkest Hour feels like a movie that ran into problems during the production, what they were I do not know. Perhaps rewrites, studio interventions, changes in what the movie was supposed to be, something, anything that helped mess with the resulting film. It is a shame too, there are some good ideas and images here, it just could have used more focus, more attention to detail, a stronger creative direction. It feels, at times, a little lackadaisical, almost like they shot the scene, shrugged their shoulders and moved on.
The movie was directed by Chris Gorak, who should be able to escape unscathed from this experience. This is his second feature and I do look forward to what he does next. His first film was Right at Your Door, a pretty solid thriller about a potential attack and the fallout from it. As for the cast, the top billed are Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirlby, and Rachel Taylor, none of whom fare all that well.
I guess on a certain level this is kind of fun. It could be viewed as a modern B movie. I mean, sure it is a B movie, but view it through an 80's perspective and it takes on a slightly different energy. I do not really recommend this to the unwilling, as it might just make it more sad. I just found myself sitting there looking for ways to improve the experience. In the end I can say that I liked it, but with big reservations.
It should also be mentioned that the "Survive the Holidays." tag line is awful. Now, Summit, just because you want to open it on Christmas does not make your movie a holiday movie. It is also a bad idea to make the tag more prominent than the title, people get the wrong idea.
Posted by Christopher Beaumont at 1/03/2012 10:00:00 PM
Chris has been an avid movie watcher for decades, getting into the writing game in 2004. Since that time he has contributed to a number online publications as well as running CriticalOutcast.com. In addition to movies, Chris is a big fan of music, particularly metal, and will never give up hope on his beloved Mets.