The Darkest Hour review (Blu-ray)

This sci-fi actioner is produced by Russian Timur Bekmambetov – best known for the Day Watch and Night Watch flicks, as well as the terrific Wanted. He hasn't made that many films in Hollywood yet – although he has directed the upcoming Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – but he's certainly got the Hollywood tropes down pat.

Why is it that any American film set in a foreign city (this one's in Moscow) have to have the ubiquitous shots of Starbucks, McDonald's and other big American corporate brands? And how come, when a scene is set in a nightclub, the characters are able to carry on a normal conversation?

The Darkest Hour is the tale of two American web dudes (Hirsch and Minghella) who travel to Moscow to make a deal for a new social network they've developed but get ripped off (like that ever happens in real life). While in the aforementioned nightclub drowning their sorrows they meet up with a couple of girls (Thirlby and Taylor). And when aliens invade, the four have to do al they can to survive.

Yup, it's a standard aliens-invade-and-the-human-race-has-to-fight-for-survival film, which we've seen hundreds of times before. And The Darkest hour doesn't do anything revolutionary with the concept. But it's a solid sci-fi film with enough mystery to keep you guessing and enough action to get the juices flowing. The boys are pretty, and the girls are even prettier, so you're definitely rooting for them to survive (especialy the girls). The scenes of empty Moscow are reminiscent of the deserted London from 28 Days Later, or the abandoned towns of The Walking Dead. The special effects are excellent, which is probably down to the involvement of Bekmambetov – remember how good they were in Wanted? There are also moments that will remind you of the termnator films, and Ghostbusters, and others ... yeah, it's pretty derivitive.

The Darkest Hour is an easy, non-brain-taxing and fun watch that's perfect for a Saturday night in. Chill some beers, chuck a pizza in the oven, pump up the sound ... and enjoy.

EXTRAS None

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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