Amid a citywide power outage, aliens fall from the sky in the form of orange fireballs that then turn more or less invisible, but immediately incinerate all humans they can get their "hands" on. As luck would have it, our heroes manage to survive by holing up, along with the aforementioned babes (Transformers' Rachael Taylor and No Strings Attached's Olivia Thirlby) and the Russkie douche (Joel Kinnaman, TV's The Killing).
Although they quickly determine that the energy waves can sense electricity, they also don lightbulb necklaces. They're not the brightest, but neither is this film, in which two handfuls of miniature lightbulbs can be tossed across concrete, and not have them break. Speaking of break, they hope to catch one in form of a rescue nuclear submarine whose impending departure they learn of via radio broadcast. If ... only ... they ... can ... reach it in time!
The movie takes its sweet time getting there. I get the feeling The Darkest Hour was made as a showcase for the admittedly nifty effect of the aliens' energy force turning hapless clubbers into ashes, ashes, all fall down. Because really, that's all there to it, and the run-from-shock-balls scenario is presented and re-presented for roughly 80 minutes, with various characters dying in the order you expect — a real shame, if you’re just sticking around for eye candy.
Don't blame director Chris Gorak; it's not his script. A talented art director and effects guy, he's making his sophomore effort in the chair, following 2006's Right at Your Door, which he did write, and has all the tension to which Darkest aspires.
An eight-minute short film on the Blu-ray, Survivors, is skippable. Although it could be viewed as a bridge to a sequel that never will come, the brief work adds nothing. It's not as if The Darkest Hour leaves you with any burning questions, other than perhaps "Why did I watch all of that?"
In my case, it was because of my son, who proclaimed it "the best alien movie ever." I should clarify that he has seen maybe one other "alien movie," being Aliens in the Attic. Hey, he's 7. —Rod Lott
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