The Dark Hour

The end of the world as we know it... The Dark Hour
The end of the world as we know it... The Dark Hour

Spanish title: La hora fría
Country: Spain
2006
Genre: Science Fiction
Director: Elio Quiroga
Produced by Jerôme Debève, Margaret Nicoll, Elio Quiroga, Juan A. Ruiz, Carmen Sánchez and Sebastián Álvarez for Eqlipse Producciones Cinematográficas S.L., La Huella Efectos Digitales SL. With the participation of Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA), Gobierno de Canarias, Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Televisión Española (TVE), Cabildo de Gran Canaria, CajaCanarias.
Story and screenplay: Elio Quiroga
Music: Alfons Conde
Cinematographer: Ángel Luis Fernández
Editor: Luis Sánchez-Gijón
Art director: Gabriel Carrascal
Cast: Silke (María), Omar Muñoz (Jesús), Pepo Oliva (Judas), Carola Manzanares (Magda), Jorge Casalduero (Pedro), Julio Perillán (Pablo), Sergio Villanueva (Mateo), Pablo Scola (Lucas), Nadia de Santiago (Ana), Marco González (Niño Solo), Luis Sánchez-Gijón (Voz Propaganda)
Spanish takings: €50.308,65
Spanish spectators: 9.153
Spanish subsidies: Ayudas sobre Proyecto de Largometrajes (€350.000,00)
Budget:

Synopsis

Following a calamitous war, a small group of survivors cling to life in a huge underground shelter. A mixture of soldiers, scientists and kids, they’re gradually being decimated by the hordes of infectious, zombie-like ‘strangers’ who are slowly infiltrating their hideout. Furthermore, the place is periodically attacked by ephemeral and yet deadly ‘invisibles’, ghosts that attack and kill anyone who isn’t safely locked up during ‘the cold hour’. Neither of which, as it turns out, prove to be quite as deadly as the survivors themselves who, in customary style, manage to c*ck eveything up for themselves through their in-fighting and general idiocy.

Review

The Dark Hour
The Dark Hour

Here’s a decent little Spanish science fiction film that was released with a minimum of fuss back in 2006. Shame, really, as it’s a really rather good, a well made, low budget mix of the zombie and post-apocalypse genres, something like a cross between Day of the Dead and I Am Legend, not to mention the forgotten seventies Spanish films Refuge of Fear and The People Who Own the Dark.

Considering that this must have been made with severely limited resources, it’s really quite an achievement. Although derivative, it throws in some new ideas of it’s own and scores strongly on characterization, which is much better than usual for this kind of thing. It also benefits from being told through the eyes of one of the children, Omar Muñoz, giving it a slightly different perspective. Director Elio Quiroga made a film called Fotos back in 96, and his new film, No Do, was released in Spain at the end of last year (it’s being touted internationally at the moment under the title The Beckoning).

Rating: 5/10

Review by Matt Blake, 2015

What the critics said

“Spanish post-apocalyptic thriller The Dark Hour is an understated piece of cinema that resists the temptation to indulge in distracting set pieces in favour of a dark and moody atmosphere. Why then director Elio Quioga felt the need to spoil the good work with an overblown final twist that would have been rejected by M Night Shyamalan is anyone’s guess.” Ben Austwick, Quiet Earth.

Notes and further information

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