The Darkest Hour (2011) Is Dark Indeed
Ho-hum. Another aliens invade earth, exterminating most of its inhabitants, and leading the few survivors into battle to save themselves and their planet flick. Ho-hum? No, not at all, if we’re talking about The Darkest Hour, a 2011 film released on DVD and Blu-ray April 10, 2012. Despite the story that has been told many times before, The Darkest Hour takes a fresh approach to ragtag-survivors-vs.-aliens conventions.
Stranded in Moscow following an alien invasion, Seattle entrepreneurs Ben (Max Minghella) and Sean (Emile Hirsch), find they are facing a far worse fate than having their Internet international bar-hopping site stolen by the very people from whom they expected to make ten million dollars. Commiserating in a club after being ripped off, Ben and Sean meet two women, Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachel Taylor) when the lights go out. Everyone in the club goes outside to see what’s happening and are greeted by a fantastic light show. As the golden lights touch close to earth, though, they reduce living things to ashes.Ben, Sean, Natalie, and Anne take shelter in a storeroom where they are joined by Skyler (Joel Kinnaman), the arrogant bastard who stole their concept.
In some ways reminiscent of The Divide, The Darkest Hour minimizes the locked-in-the-basement dramatics and follows the small band of survivors as they search out others like themselves and try to find their way home. As the story progresses, some of the characters are exterminated by the aliens, and others join the small group in their mission. Creepy scenes of wind-blown dust on deserted streets remind us of the millions who were annihilated by the unfriendly visitors.
The Darkest Hour is a well-acted survival tale that is only slightly marred by its sweet, optimistic ending. Palpable tension and suspense keep the audience engaged, hoping for the best but expecting the worst. In addition to the expected audio commentary, special features include deleted and extended scenes, “The Darkest Hour: Visualizing an Invasion,” and an “all new short film,” The Darkest Hour: Survivors.