When the end of the world comes, would you really want to be in a sleazy Russian nightclub? That's one of the essential questions pondered in The Darkest Hour, in which aliens invade the planet, and a small group of attractive young people fight to survive and make their way elsewhere.
As the film opens, two American Web entrepreneurs (Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella) are heading to Moscow looking for financing for their location-based social-media service. After they are double-crossed by a would-be business partner (Joel Kinnaman), they go to drown their sorrows in a nightspot, where they meet a couple of young women (Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor) who are impulsively traveling the globe.
Then, an invasion of diaphanously floating, twinkly lights hits the city, apparitions that turn anyone who crosses their path to dust. Seemingly feeding off (and given away by) electricity, the invaders are more easily seen at nighttime, setting the young people on a series of dimly lighted adventures as they make their way across the city.
None of them is exactly prepared to go into survivalist mode, especially the two young women in their thin, sparkly tops that looked cute in the club, but are definitely not apocalypse-ready. Thirlby actually carries her high heels around for a while, running in bare feet until she can find a suitable pair of boots when they all briefly encamp in an abandoned shopping center. As Hirsch asks at one point, "What's the dress code for the end of the world? Jacket, no tie?"
Director Chris Gorak previously made the effective, low-budget, horror-thriller Right at Your Door, and in making this move to a splashy, bigger film, his instincts for character have perhaps been overwhelmed by the demands of a larger production.StartTextEndText