In the opening scene of The Darkest Hour, an air hostess politely asks a passenger to switch off his hand-held game console. The gamer, Sean, played by Emile Hirsch (who looks like a blend of Jack Black and Leonardo DiCaprio with a fratboy twist) playfully protests, arguing electronic devices could never disrupt an aeroplane, but soon it won’t matter. Alien invaders in the form of fuzzy orange electronic impulses will come and turn off all devices for him. And for mankind.

Director Chris Gorak’s junky ET invasion flick explores in its air-headed way the mixed blessings of electricity in an appliance driven world — namely its ability to provide for and protect humans while creating a means for our demise. The commentary never comes to satisfying fruition in a story spring-boarded by a vintage post-apocalyptic plot trigger: petrified survivors risk life, limb and screen time in the hope of finding other humans.

Subsequent cat and mouse shenanigans are generally slow and uninteresting, the special effects so-so and the pace hit-and-miss. The Darkest Hour get funner when it gets trashier, the introduction of men and animals shielded with DIY armor made of chains and sheets of metal a welcome end of the world folly.

The cast including (Aussie Rachel Taylor) turn in dorky performances and Max Minghella gets to play for the second time (after The Social Network) a sucker outplayed on a potentially lucrative online initiative.

Set in Moscow, there’s probably a post Cold War thesis buried somewhere in the rubble, but you’ll have to dig deep to find it.

The Darkest Hour’s Australian theatrical release date: January 19, 2012.