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24 February 2024

There’s an alien invasion at a cinema near you

By 20 th Century Fox International

Move over “Independence Day”; the world has found some new aliens to battle and this force can electrocharge mankind into kingdom come without even shedding its invisibility cloak.
Directed by Chris Gorak, “The Darkest Hour” is the latest sci-fi adventure that is expected to make waves across UAE cinemas in all its 3D glory, as it releases January 12.  
As a debutante behind the camera, one would wonder why Gorak would choose such a meaty topic for his first feature film, but he stated that he was particularly attracted to the unique take on the science fiction parts of the story.
“Our apocalypse isn’t about aliens destroying our planet, they’ve come for something, and they rid humans like ants at a picnic,” explained Gorak. “Being a science fiction cinema fan, when I first got the script for this project I was attracted to this idea of the apocalypse, but mostly to what the aliens are.”
“I was really attracted to their invisible nature and the unique concept of how they affect the electricity of the environment. I felt a great challenge in how to present that cinematically.”
Made up of electromagnetic wave energy, the alien beings kill brutally by shredding earthly life forms, reducing those in their way to their molecular structure instantly. The aliens are also basically invisible to humans, however anything electrical gives them away.
Filmed on location in Moscow, “The Darkest Hour” is the story of five young people who find themselves stranded in the Russian city, fighting to survive in the wake of a devastating alien attack.
Arriving amidst a mysterious lightening storm, young Internet entrepreneurs Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) land in the Russian capital to pursue their business, while travellers Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachael Taylor) are stranded in Moscow by an unscheduled stop over en route to Nepal.  
The two pairs of best friends collide at a nightclub along with the young Turk, Skylar (Joel Kinnaman).
But the club is quickly transformed to a scene of terror when an alien attack leaves nearly everyone dead.
After surviving the initial onslaught, the five must not show courage under fire and battle for their very survival before humanity, as they know it, is eradicated from earth.
Talking about opting for Moscow as a location for the film, Gorak said: “Since I’m very comfortable with the visual aspects of filmmaking, I can focus on script, character, and telling the right story, and the other stuff is second nature.
“But Moscow was one of the first things that I got really excited about. First was the alien and how it interacted with our world, but second was Moscow itself as a location. The city added a whole other texture and character in the film that’s irreplaceable.”
“Historically, Moscow is a stand-alone culture and in an area of Europe that really is like the last frontier. We wanted to put our group of travellers in a place where it’s unbalanced for them,” he said.
“In addition, Russian is a foreign language for everyone in the movie. Moscow is this island of opportunity for a young westerner, yet they can’t read a street sign because they are written in the Cyrillic alphabet, so they don't know which way to go. That creates a fish out of water survival story.”
Changing the dimension
Produced by New Regency and Summit Entertainment, the film is being released in 2D and 3D formats across the UAE.
The director revealed that “The Darkest Hour” was never intended to be anything but a 2D film, but it was during the development of the script, that director/producer James Cameron’s groundbreaking 3D film “Avatar” released to overwhelming critical, financial, and creative success.
“Originally, “The Darkest Hour” was a 2D movie in my head, but when “Avatar” came out, the studios started really thinking about which properties could be 3D. So in the spring of 2010 we shot some 3D tests in Los Angeles to see how 3D fit with what we were trying to create.
“Quite honestly I was reluctant because I had a different film in my head for so long. Once we played with the 3D equipment, cut that test night shoot together, worked with it in post putting in some visual effects, and projected in on screen… I just changed,” admitted Gorak.
He added: “Shooting in 3D has an immersive quality to it. I like to call it innovative dynamic immersion, or IDI. It’s not about three dimensions… it’s about four, five, or six dimensions. It’s HD on steroids where you’re in the environment that is shaped in a different way for the viewing audience.

Grabbing the characters and sticking them in the lap of the audience, and grabbing the audience and sticking them in the environment is what it’s about.”