Summary: A good use of location does little to save lazy alien thriller 'The Darkest Hour' from its cliches and complete lack of depth.
Almost immediately, there are so many throwaway lines in 'The Darkest Hour' eating up precious time you hope that as the stakes increase they will be substituted to develop its ridiculously slim characters. But as the 90 minutes drag on you realise all too late that it's not going to happen.
In the wake of an invisible enemy that homes in on electromagnetic energy sources, the surviving humans (the bulk of which are American tourists) seem so dumb and shallow you half want them to fail against this altogether more cunning adversary. They shout useless lines like "hurry the sun is coming up!" and "oh my god!" and ask questions like "did you hear that?" and "are you seeing this?" while offering nuggets of advice like "be careful". It gets irritating fast watching this cannon fodder run and shout. Then again if you were to trim this fat the film would be half an hour long.
It takes good actors to transcend material as underwritten as this, and Emile Hirsch (who was spectacular in Sean Penn's 'Into the Wild') is the only one who has an ounce of charisma. Even he can't save this turgid mess from being a B-movie that chokes on its tongue when it should plant it in its cheek.
What does offer slight relief is the location photography in Moscow and the inventive visual effects. In the hands of a decent writer and a competent director, 'The Darkest Hour' could've been an interesting horror thriller but it's just lazy.
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