The Darkest Hour has a decent enough premise and some cool looking special effects that are nearly as glossy looking as the young cast of actors thrown in to what is yet another take on the alien invasion thriller.
Set in Moscow, we find a pair of internet entrepreneurs trying to get their website in to Russia where they see huge dollar signs in their future. After getting screwed over by their, now former, business partner, Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) make their way out to a nightclub as they try to figure out their next move.
It turns out that next move is to meet Anne (Rachael Taylor) who is on a photography trip with her assistant Natalie (Olivia Thirlby). The pair hit it off although right as the club goes dark and, as everyone heads outside, everyone realizes the entire city has come under attack by invisible invaders that can literally disintegrate any life form.
On the run and seemingly alone in the city, the foursome, along with the excessively freaked out Skyler (Joel Kinnaman), who just happens to be that same former business partner of Sean and Ben, search for a way out of the city in hopes of escaping the invasion.
If this seems like a recipe for a bland and generic ride through a story sprinkled with a few eye popping moments of creepy invisible aliens and big explosions, you would be mostly correct. The acting is average at best as each of the characters are portrayed in a fairly predictable, if not stereotypical fashion although I'm not sure if I blame the actors as much as the stale dialog.
The effects are the best thing about this movie as we get some pretty cool stuff we haven't seen before like people and animals that are killed off in a flurry of electricity and sulfur that is similar to how the X-Men's Nightcrawler teleports, although there is no coming back for these folks. The way our heroes are able to resist and the weapons they use to fight back are also pretty cool and lead to some explosive pyrotechnics.
Director Chris Gorak does a decent enough job with the material in what is basically his first feature film and the producing team has previously been responsible for action/effects movies like Wanted, Day Watch, and Night Watch which all had a really edgy feel to them along with good special effects and action.
Unfortunately, The Darkest Hour falls short of these efforts as the characters aren't very memorable and the intensity a picture like this needs never really develops. All we get are a few cool special effects scattered here and there and a fairly decent plot, which to me just wasn't enough to warrant the cliff hanger ending that promises more of...the same? Hopefully, if there is a sequel, this first installment was just a stepping stone to a much bigger and bolder effort.