Writer: Andrew P Jones (Screenplay)
Starring: Zachary Mooren, Linara Washington, Casper Van Dien, Peter Mayer, Ford Fanter, Jennifer Wenger, James Packard
Plot: A film crew is ravaged by a demon, who is hell bent on cashing in on a deal he made with someone on set who was seeking fame and fortune.
Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Nice Twist on the Found Footage
Story: Darkness Reigns starts when Daniel (Mooren) is releasing his new documentary on the events that happened on the film set one year ago. Daniel is working as the cameraman filming the behind the scene footage for a brand new low budget horror movie starring Casper Van Dien. The film is set in a haunted hotel and we get to meet the cast and crew of the movie.
When the hotel turns out to be truly haunted by a demon, the cast and crew face a race to survive against a demon that enjoys playing towards the weakness of its victims.
Thoughts on Darkness Reigns
Characters – Daniel is the cameraman working on the behind the stage footage, he dreams of becoming the next big director in the world with this being his first steps in the film world. We have him holding the camera which does make sense for the use of the found footage camera work style. Vanessa is the make up artist on the set, she is one of the people needing to find a way to survive. Casper Van Dien is playing a version of himself, he plays the biggest star on set which gets to play out like he is the most important part of the film. we do have the remaining of the cast and crew involved in the horror movie, it would have been nice to meet a few other characters though.
Performances – Zachary Mooren is the lead in the movie, he does make us believe his character has been on edge through the film because we know he makes it out. Linara Washington is good, but we don’t believe her pain when she gets put through the horror moments. Casper Van Dien does play his character role and does look like he is enjoying his role. Where the film is set as a behind the scene filming, we do get to see the performers look like they are trying to avoid the camerawork which makes us understand why they look at act nervous.
Story – The story here follows the events of a film production that gets taken over by a demonic presence, while Daniel has turned the events into a documentary, we learn this in the opening scene. This is shot like a found footage because it follows the behind the scenes shooting for the extras on the DVD. We learn elements of how a low budget horror movie gets worked on and even having Casper Van Dien playing the most important actor in the movie. There isn’t the deepest story, but I did like how we didn’t go through the ‘set up’ of a found footage film and just jump into the horror when it starts, it is a sudden moment which doesn’t let go.
Horror – The horror uses demonic presence haunting a film set with a twist that comes late in the film. we keep the horror moments happening mostly off camera and the ones we do see are creepy imagines.
Settings – The film is set in the abandoned hotel, we learn that most of the doors are blocked off which means the exits are not where they should be, which helps when the endless running to escape because there isn’t an easy way out.
Special Effects – For the effects we get a mix of CGI and practical, the practical clearly is good, while the CGI looks weak in places.
Final Thoughts – This is a solid horror thriller that brings us a fresh approach to the found footage idea and gives us some secret to how a low budget horror gets made.
Overall: Horror fans to watch.