There are some films where you don’t know what to expect. The trailer is great, but the reviews are terrible, or vice versa. You’re torn. Which do you trust? On the other end of the spectrum, there are those movies that you know exactly what to expect. The trailer is awful, the reviews are terrible, and it’s coming out in 3D. Welcome to The Darkest Hour. The more accurate title would be ‘The Darkest 88 Minutes’ because that’s would it feels like while watching this film that is doomed to fail catastrophically at the box office.
The Darkest Hour‘s plot revolves around our 5 heroes, Sean, Natalie, Ben, Skyler, and Anne as survivors of an alien invasion in Moscow (why do bad movies always seem to involve Russia?). Don’t worry about remembering their names, however, because they’re so forgettable that their only defining characteristics are their accents. Ben, Sean, and Natalie are American, Skyler is Russian, and Anne is Australian. The alien invaders manifest themselves as balls of energy, which for some reason everybody keeps trying to shoot, even though it’s made perfectly clear early on that they’re invulnerable to bullets. They become invisible as the film goes on, and the only way our protagonists are able to tell where they are is because they have a strange effect on electrical items, making them go on and off. Granted, this does lead to some pretty intense chase scenes when all you can see is the street lights lighting up getting ever closer to the person running away.
However, the excitement is very limited. The characters are the biggest problem with the film. They’re so flat and non-existent that, well, you don’t care if they die or not. In fact, they get so annoying that you actually want them to die. The 3D is awful, and it looks like post-conversion. I actually gave up half way through the film and took the 3D glasses off and just watched it without them. It was blurry, but it was less blurry then it was with them on. The performances from all 5 main cast members are just abysmal. They’re hammy, over the top, and painful to watch.
The film does have one saving grace. The music. The music for this film is absolutely incredible. It builds atmosphere, it gets very intense at the right moments, and it really saves a lot of the scenes. It was composed by Tyler Banks, who has done music for all the famous Zack Snyder films, Dawn Of The Dead, 300, Watchmen, and Sucker Punch. He has done tons of film soundtracks and he is extremely talented. I really do look forward to seeing more from him.
And then, they have the nerve to end the film with a sequel bait, which serves as a gigantic middle finger to the audience who just paid to sit through your 88 minute (even though it feels like 120) stinker, and don’t even get a real ending. The film did moderately well at the box office, grossing $36 million on a $30 million budget, though not nearly enough to warrant a sequel. And thank god. The Darkest Hour is a strong contender for one of the worst films of 2012, and it’s only January!