Left in the dark

The Darkest Hour
The Darkest Hour

The Darkest Hour 3D (12A)

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman, Dato Bakhtadze and Veronika Vernadskaya.

Director: Chris Gorak.

Running time: 88 mins.

THE Dullest Hour would be a more fitting summation of Chris Gorak’s special effects-laden thriller, which witnesses a devastating alien attack from the perspective of five young people trapped in Moscow.

It’s refreshing to be far from American soil for the extermination of mankind by otherworldly predators.

Images of the deserted Russian capital are chilling and Gorak showcases the city’s impressive architecture. However, screenwriter Jon Spaihts doesn’t have a good ear for dialogue and his characters are completely disposable.

His invaders are invisible to the human eye then, for the sake of cinematic thrills, he has to half-bake some hokey science to reveal the extra-terrestrials’ corporeal form. The design — sour-faced trolls in spinning, electrified orbs — is not the visual effects department’s finest hour.

Aspiring internet entrepreneurs Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) fly thousands of miles to sell their online tourist guide to the Russians with the help of Swedish business partner, Skylar (Joel Kinnaman).

However, Skylar rips them off and steals the intellectual property.

Sean and Ben drown their sorrows at a nightclub where they meet globe-trotting photographer Anne (Rachael Taylor) and friend Natalie (Olivia Thirlby).

The party reaches a crescendo just as Moscow is hit by a blackout.

Clubbers pour on to the street as luminescent shapes fall from the sky, heralding an alien invasion.

The invisible extra-terrestrials vaporise humans on contact and through observation, the survivors deduce the aliens emit electromagnetic wave energy.

Armed with light bulbs as rudimentary early warning devices, the survivors make their way through Moscow, crossing paths with Russian teenager Vika (Veronika Vernadskaya) and inventor Sergei (Dato Bakhtadze).

The Darkest Hour starts promisingly but boredom surfaces soon after the aliens begin culling the extras.

Genuine emotion doesn’t trouble Hirsch, Minghella and co as the film wheezes and splutters from one lacklustre set piece to the next.

Plot information is delivered largely as clumsy expository dialogue by characters who seem incapable of remembering their own name let alone distilling the finer points of the electrical resistivity of glass. Sweet dreams are not made of this nonsense.

Rating: 2/5