How do you create an alien invasion movie on a minimal budget? Easy, make them invisible. That’s the basic premise behind Director Chris Gorak the Darkest Hour. Is it me or is using camouflage shields cheating? I mean come on, if you are going to invade us, do it straight up.
The movie works well as a low budget, sci-fi survival story. There are some interesting ideas here that are executed fairly well. Emile Hirsch is one of those actors that I would like to see more of. He was fantastic in the unfairly maligned, Speed Racer. He received great review for Into The Wild and Milk, he seemed hot,
then he just disappeared for awhile. He does a fine job in this as the optimistic go to guy for a ragtag group of survivors. Where this movie made its mistake is releasing it on the big screen first. It sets a different expectation level for what a sci-fi movie should be.
We are used to seeing the monster under the bed in gory detail, 3 quarter profile views, etc. Here Gorak sticks to the movie’s conceit that no one knows what is attacking them, why or even how. Towards the end of the movie they somehow make a leap that they know why the earth was being attacked. The movie does a fairly nice job of showing what it must be like to be the last few people left in the world, I say claustrophobic because that realization must be lonely, but there are also nice wide shots of an empty Moscow so the movie ends up being really intimate but also does a nice job of showcasing the enormity of their situation. I’m not sure why this movie was universally panned other than, maybe people expected a lot more than they should have.
The Blu-ray I received comes in a single disc no frills “special edition” package. There are combo packages and a 3D version available as well. I really like the cover poster art used. The Orange of the lightning contrasts well with the black, it’s eye catching. The 1080p transfer is nice and clean, no obvious grain in the picture and it is not as sharp so you don’t get the rough forehead close-ups on a lot of today’s modern blu-rays. The cinematography in this movie is not much to write home about so it is not enhanced, nor diminished by the clean transfer. The audio track has a clean, even sounding DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track, that also includes Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. Subtitles are in English and Spanish.
The highlight of this set is an 8 minute short called The Darkest Hour: Survivors. This movie takes place right after the movie ends and shows the human resistance finally fighting back against the aliens. It’s a pretty interesting concept film which I wish was part of the main movie’s 3rd act.
Extra’s also include a 12 minute featurette about the special effects in the movie called The Darkest Hour: Visualizing an Invasion, four deleted scenes and one extended, and a full length commentary with the Director.
The Darkest Hour is a movie that is worth watching if you have nothing else better to do. This Blu-ray release is decent, but feels really light. It is worth a rental, but not a purchase.
Final Grade C