The Darkest Hour aired on Syfy (for me). I remember seeing the ads for this film when it was coming out in theaters back in late 2011, and I was curious. But never got around to catching it.
Yes, I said theaters. This is not an Asylum film made for Syfy but rather, a film Syfy nabbed the rights to for airing on their network.
It stars Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, Rachael Taylor, and Joel Kinnaman. Production designer and Art director Chris Gorak (Fight Club, Minority Report) directs off a script by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus). Spaihts has been tapped to write the screenplay for the 2016 Marvel film, Doctor Strange. (To be honest, that can’t be good, can it?)
The movie opens on an airliner heading to Russia as we watch two guys Sean and Ben (Hirsch and Minghella) arguing with the flight attendant about phones and airplanes. We then follow them as they head off to a business meeting to sell their social networking/party locating software product to a new client, but they find themselves on the bad end of a bad business deal. Skyler (Kinnaman) ended up stealing their product and beat them to the punch.
Later that night Sean and Ben meet Natalie and Anne (Thirlby and Taylor) at a night club to burn off some steam when the power goes out and these pretty golden lights descend from the sky… and start vaporizing humans.
Our five main characters end up escaping the attack and hiding out in a cellar/supply room until the attack subsides, and then they venture out into the day.
The girls seem to think this is a game of trust and aren’t sure if they can trust the guys, rather than recognizing that they need to ban together to survive.
The group tends to run everywhere rather than walk and conserve energy. They tend to yell rather than be quiet and they tend to stay in plain sight everywhere rather than stick to shadows and corners.
The creatures are fascinating and curious. They’re mostly invisible, set off lights or electricity around them as they move and seem to see in etch-a-sketch blueprint mode but can’t see people through glass.
Hirschand, Minghella Thirlby and Taylor play the more level headed, run of the mill survivors while Kinnaman tends to play a rally nice bonehead, intellectual property thief.
All in all, for something on Syfy, this was fairly interesting. Not completely riveting but unlike some fare they telecast, you don’t need to change the channel if you see it on your schedule.
It’s true that the movie received a 4.8/10 from IMDb users. It received a 12% from the Rotten Tomatoes collective of critics. That’s a sure warning to beware the movie. As a theatrical release. As a TV movie, it’s not a horrible time killer. Sure, it’s flat, uninspiring and finds that it just adds one more flick to the genre of alien invasion films that does not inspire.
But not horrible.