The Darkest Hour (2011)

“Team work makes the dream work.”

There are some films that come along that put disappointments such as Michael Bay’s Transformers and McG’s Terminator Salvation into perspective, and make you realize that, although not what you were hoping for, they’re not that bad. The Darkest Hour is one of those movies, and even though I have only just got around to watching it, as I heard it was very disappointing, I had no idea just how catastrophically bad it really is.

Hyped by the atypical cool trailer covered in shots of people being swallowed up and turned to ash in the midst of general panic and confusion, it was enough to get most people, myself included, at least intrigued. But what actually followed was 90 mins of some of the worst acting, directing, production and scriptwriting sci-fi has ever seen. As a Russian-American joint effort, it definitely showcases the worst of both, and although the premise of “aliens” appearing out of the sky and harvesting the Earth is  a fairly safe, albeit unoriginal, idea, the plot is simply a combination of badly planned adventure that makes Skyline seem watchable, and cinematography that manages to repeat itself over and over again despite the relatively short running time.

Either Gorak or Jon Spaihts the writer had clearly seen Predator too many times, as the only seemingly original ideas are slightly tweaked versions of the heat-sensitive vision, the ability for protagonists to shield said aliens from said vision, and even a close representation of the “if it bleeds we can kill it” moment. All of this is green-screened for the 3D audience, which makes the 2D version look like the cut-scenes from Red Alert. The production is so poor, I felt like I was watching a bad kids TV programme from the nineties just after the discovery of CGI, let alone a thrilling movie. I wish I had something good to say about the film, but after the five minutes of “that was kinda cool”, I quickly lost patience with the lack of effort and movie value.

Shapstik Verdict: Only enjoyable during a semi-comatose hangover, The Darkest Hour fails on every movie front. Although visually acceptable, you can only see so many bodies turn to ash before you start looking elsewhere for cinematic satisfaction. The 2D experience borderlines on the painful, and its predictable dialogue climaxes with one of the most pathetic attempts at an ending I have even seen. Avoid at all costs, unless you fancy a laugh. 2/10

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