Despite the overabundance of alien-oriented movies that’ve been released this year alone, there are still a couple of intriguing additions to that genre on the horizon – namely, this winter’s The Darkest Hour and Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium.

Unpolished photos from the set of Elysium have made their way online, offering an early look at Blomkamp’s followup to District 9. Conceptual artwork for Darkest Hour has also been unveiled, teasing the unusual visual design of the extraterrestrial invasion thriller.

As is generally the case with set pics or conceptual artwork, the following images reveal MILD SPOILERS about their respective films. So, those of you who want to know as little as possible about these sci-fi flick in advance, consider that your SPOILER WARNING.

Still here?  Then let’s move forward with…


The few (unconfirmed) details released about Blomkamp’s new sci-fi film so far reveal that it stars Matt Damon as an ex-convict living on a non-Earth planet some 100 years in the future. Jodie Foster is playing the president of said alien planet, while Wagner Moura will portray an underground human trafficker with a loyal following; and Elysium, as a whole, will blend social commentary with brutal violence in a fashion similar to D9.

Photos from the set of Elysium provide an advanced look at Damon’s (former) criminal character in particular. Check a couple of them out in the gallery below:

Passing over the circumstances of the scene being filmed – with Damon sporting a shaven head, bleeding, and on the run – it would appear that the actor’s Elysium character is essentially a cyborg of sorts. The metal framework around his body and mechanical implants attached to his head look more practical in function and futuristic in design than, say, the classic Robocop suit or similar cybernetic enhancements from older sci-fi titles.

Blomkamp touched on themes concerning the interdependence between organic life forms and technology in District 9, but he looks to tackle that increasingly-relevant concept more head-on in Elysium – if Damon’s outfit is anything to go by. Sounds pretty cool, yes?

For more images of Damon on the Elysium set, head on over to Collider.

The Darkest Hour

Last week the Darkest Hour trailer premiered online, painting the sci-fi flick as being a 28 Days Later-style thriller that boasts some creative (if peculiar) other-worldly invaders. The new conceptual art released for the film expands on a handful of pivotal scenes in the film, while also further teasing the strange nature of its extraterrestrial creatures.

Darkest Hour‘s aliens are beings composed primarily of energy that are capable of disintegrating any organic life form they come into contact with – and, subsequently, absorbing their energy. Seemingly invisible to the human eye, the creatures are only detectable because they tend to active any sort of electrical items or systems they come into close proximity with (see: the use of light bulbs in the Darkest Hour trailer).

For a better look at the aliens (including how the world looks from their perspective) check out the Darkest Hour conceptual artwork below:

While The Darkest Hour looks to recycle story elements from many a previous alien invasion tale (War of the Worlds, in particular), it also promises to be a very stylish and visually impressive addition to the genre. So perhaps that’ll help the film become more than just another run-of-the-mill thriller about visitors from another planet who seek to take over our world.

For more Darkest Hour artwork, head on over (again) to Collider.

The Darkest Hour arrives in 2D and 3D theaters in the U.S. on December 23rd, 2011.

Elysium is scheduled for theatrical release on March 1st, 2013.