This alien invasion adventure for teens tries to avoid some of the genre's clichés. Rather than blowing up L.A. or London, the conquering E.T.s focus on Moscow (although we’re told the same thing is happening all over the world). From what we see of Moscow, however, it doesn’t look that much uglier after a lot of Soviet-style blocks get reduced to rubble in the attack.
The other “new” thing is that instead of looking vaguely humanoid or tentacled or insectoid, these aliens are invisible, which must have saved a bit on rubber prosthetics. They are made of radio waves and they kill by microwaving, which makes for some eye-catching disintegrations. Otherwise this your average ‘they came from outer space’ scenario: Five young things from the West happen to be clubbing in Moscow when the power goes out and pretty lights fall from the sky. Ooohs and Aahhs turn to screams of “Run, Run!” and the five shelter in a storage room for days. When they come out they luckily latch onto a Russian teen survivor who can translate an emergency radio broadcast about a submarine evacuation, so the gang creep desperately towards rescue. Naturally, however improbably, en route they hit on a way for the world to fight back. Phew.
Although it starts off adequately the filmmakers seem to have given up in the second half, with dialogue and incident descending swiftly into laugh-out-loud ridiculousness. Not long ago Hirsch (Speed Racer, Into The Wild) and Minghella (The Social Network) seemed on the fast track to the A list, but this teen twaddle won’t do a thing for them, or anyone. And yet again the 3D is barely justified, by just a few good effects of twinkling deadly lights and falling ash (from bodies, ee-uw).
Is The Darkest Hour suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This movie is aimed at teens and is not suitable for younger children. People and pets get hunted and shredded by the invisible menace at regular intervals.