Tell us an alien invasion movie is on the way and, regardless of who’s in it or what it’s about, it sparks intrigue. Not only am I particularly guilty of this in general, but upon hearing the concept backing The Darkest Hour, I fell head over heels for what should have been a wildly original dose of ET destruction. However, perhaps test screenings didn’t go as planned, because as the film’s Christmas day release approached, its marketing campaign fizzled out, warning us of what’s to come. Is it all that bad? No, but it’s certainly not worth a promotional push especially with the high quality fare it’s going up against.
Longtime buddies Sean and Ben (Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella) head to Moscow for a business venture, the opportunity to develop their smartphone social networking application, The Globe Trot. It’s too bad their Swedish partner, Skyler (Joel Kinnaman), decides to steal their idea and present it as his own. Now abroad and with nothing to do, the boys turn to booze and drown their sorrows in a night out. That’s when they meet another traveling duo, Natalie and Anne (Olivia Thirlby and Rachael Taylor).
It’s all fun and games until the power goes out. When the partygoers head outside to investigate, they come face-to-face with the culprit, an invading alien race. The foursome and Skyler manage to barricade themselves in the club basement for the initial onslaught, but, even after emerging days later, the streets are still overrun with invaders, invisible balls of electricity with the power to turn their victims to dust.
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How many alien invasion films can we handle? This year alone we’ve already had Battle: Los Angeles, Super 8, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and both Attack the Block and Cowboys and Aliens are on the way. Sure, I can’t drape a sense of negativity over all of them, but, let’s face it, ET’s taking over the Earth is a bit, well, overdone. However, after checking out Summit Entertainment’s The Darkest Hour presentation this morning, I can assure you that at least one of the upcoming alien takeover films is worth keeping an eye on.
A group of reporters hit a specially outfitted room in the Hard Rock Hotel, decked out in concept art and stills from director Chris Gorak The Darkest Hour. After a little schmoozing and some coffee consumption, Gorak and producer Tom Jacobson kicked things off by summing up the plot of the film. The film stars Emile Hirsch and Olivia Thirlby as two members of a group of Americans vacationing in Moscow, Russia. “And that’s when the invasion happens. It happens early in our story,” Gorak explains. “Through a frantic escape, they manage to hide and avoid the initial wave of attack.” After taking cover for a few days, the group resurfaces to find that Moscow is completely destroyed.
A prime element of the story to Gorak is “moving through this apocalyptic world through the character’s perspective and taking this journey with them and discovering the powers of the alien and eventually how to fight back.” As for those invaders, they’re a pivotal part of what makes The Darkest Hour so unique and particularly visually stimulating, too. Gorak explained, “We learn through their powers that they are made up of a lethal wave of energy and basically eliminated any modern technology that you can image.” My personal worst nightmare.
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