2011 has found its worst movie: ‘The Darkest Hour’

Max Minghella, Emile Hirsch, Joel Kinnaman, Olivia Thirlby and Rachael Taylor in 'The Darkest Hour' -- Photo courtesy of Rico Torres

There is no redeeming quality to The Darkest Hour, a tireless exercise in apocalyptic horror. Categorize this one as a misfire, from start to finish.

Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) have arrived in Moscow to sell their new GPS technology, but it doesn’t take long for their tails to drop between their legs. The Russians bypass their idea and decide to market the product themselves.

What this introductory plot has to do with aliens that zap people to death is never explained. It simply serves as a reason for the characters to end up in Moscow.

After wallowing in self-pity and drinking the night away with some vodka and pretty ladies (Olivia Thirlby and Rachael Taylor), the two guys find themselves at ground zero for a global alien attack.

Strange, electrified orbs make their way around the capital city, and anyone who gets in their way is zapped like a mosquito during summertime. Police officers are disintegrated. Dogs are disintegrated. And, one by one, our main cast becomes the victim of the electrification. Guess who survives?

Thankfully, the movie only runs 89 minutes, because after about 3 minutes, The Darkest Hour becomes a bore. There is no sense of a coherent plot and the actors seem to be doing anything they want on screen. Director Chris Gorak has let everyone have a loose leash, and the result is an unfocused sci-fi flick with no thrills or laughs. The special effects are never interesting or worthy of the genre.

Jon Spaihts’ screenplay is even more frightening than his alien creations. Characters point and yell at the sky, almost like a Godzilla flick.

I don’t think I was the only one rooting for the aliens.

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com

  • The Darkest Hour

  • 2011

  • Directed by Chris Gorak

  • Written by Jon Spaihts; based on a story by Leslie Bohem, M.T. Ahem and Spaihts

  • Starring Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, Rachael Taylor and Joel Kinnaman

  • Running time: 89 minutes

  • Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and some language

  • (no stars)

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications. E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

One thought on “2011 has found its worst movie: ‘The Darkest Hour’

  • January 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    After seeing this movie the first time, I wasn’t sure if I thought it was good or bad, but after watching it again, and reading your review, I realized that yes this was probably on of the worst films of the year.


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