Film / The Darkest Hour

The Darkest Hour is a 2011 Russian-American film about a Horde of Alien Locusts invading Earth. Invisible except for occasional orange ripples, deadly to the touch, and basically invincible, they quickly slaughter everyone in their path.

Ben (Max Minghella) and Sean (Emile Hirsch), two American entrepreneurs, join up with their corrupt Swedish business partner Skyler (Joel Kinnaman) and two female tourists, Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachael Taylor) as they try to make their way out of Moscow.

Tropes in The Darkest Hour:

  • Artistic License Physics: A radio is shown to work with no apparent loss in quality while inside Sergai's Faraday cage, and later Natalie uses her cell phone inside a submarine.
  • Badass Bookworm: Sergai, an electrician, made an improvised Faraday cage and microwave gun to combat the aliens.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The aliens are metallic lifeforms, and thus consume conductive metals to survive.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: The aliens sense electricity. This means they can't see through glass.
  • Cat Scare: A breeze freaks the characters out when they mistake it for the invisible movements of an alien.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The chunk of metal that falls off one of the aliens after it takes a direct hit from an armor piercing rocket. When Sean throws it at an unshielded alien, it disintegrates like its victims did.
  • Dwindling Party: Oh yeah.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The film ends with a limited number of survivors (including a few of the protagonists) going to rendezvous, effective weapons against the aliens developed, and the possibility that the aliens will just up and leave once they're done taking what they need.
  • EMP: The aliens' arrival causes this, knocking out basically everything that wasn't somehow shielded.
  • The End of the World as We Know It
  • Energy Beings: The aliens are implied to be this, but it's subverted later on. They're actually metallic heads with razor-sharp tentacles/rings inside an invisible shield.
  • Foreshadowing/The Cuckoo Lander Was Right: A woman at the beginning (the one walling herself into her house) says "watch out for the lights". Later on they use lightbulbs as an early warning signal against the aliens.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: When an unshielded alien is struck by a piece of another one, it disintegrates like its victims did.
  • Invisibility Cloak: The aliens have shields which render them nearly invisible except for occasional electrical arcs on the surface. It also instantly vaporizes anything it touches, and can shrug off a direct hit from an armor piercing rocket.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While far from the nicest character, the Jerkass still has a point when he suggests going to the Swedish Embassy since it's closer.
  • Kill It with Fire: One of the early attempts to deal with the aliens. It doesn't hurt them, but the energy from the fire keeps them at bay.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Almost every Russian character is a Badass in more or less extent in this movie.
  • Planet Looters: The aliens only want Earth's resources, specifically conductive metals. Humans are just in the way.
  • Special Effect Failure: A literal example, oddly enough. The effect for the invisible aliens (so that the audience can see them) only works in 3D; on a 2D screen, they are simply not there, and the effect is entirely lost.
  • Touch of Death: Anything that touches the aliens shields is disintegrated on contact.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The aliens can't see through glass.
  • When Things Spin, Science Happens: Once their shields are breached, the aliens are shown to be surrounded by spinning rings.
  • Wormsign: The aliens are invisible, but their highly-charged shielding has the side-effect of powering any electrical device nearby. This even extends to light bulbs that aren't plugged into anything.