Darkness Reigns (2018)

Director: Andrew P Jones

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.

PerformancesZachary 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.

StoryThe 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.

HorrorThe 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.

SettingsThe 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 EffectsFor the effects we get a mix of CGI and practical, the practical clearly is good, while the CGI looks weak in places.


Scene of the Movie –
The first encounter with the demon.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not meeting enough of the film crew.

Final ThoughtsThis 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.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Animation – K – Khumba (2013)

Director: Anthony Silverston

Writer: Raffaella Delle Donne, Anthony Silverston, Jonathan Roberts, Camilla Bubna-Kasteliz, Mike De Seve, Joe Vitale, Dave Bejoya (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jake T Austin, Adrian Rhodes, Sam Reigel, Bryce Papenbrook, Devon Graye, Alexander Polinsky, Jonny Rees

 

Plot: Rejected by his superstitious herd, a half-striped zebra embarks on a daring quest to earn his stripes but finds the courage and self-acceptance to save all the animals of the Great Karoo.


Tagline – Half a zebra, a whole lot of adventure!

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Animation

 

Story: Khumba starts as we learn about how the zebras live isolated away from the rest of the animals in the wild, with their own water hole, but when Khumba is born he isn’t like the rest, he is only half striped. Never fitting in with the rest of the zebras, he tries to use his kindness to open the door to other animals only to shows Phango a leopard where the zebras are hiding.

Wanting to find a new place for his herd, he goes outside the border where he joins forces with a wildebeest Mama V and ostrich Bradley to complete his search for this new home, while being hunted down by Phango.

 

Thoughts on Khumba

 

Characters – Khumba is the half-striped zebra that always feels rejected by his herd, when he goes out to search for a new water hole he goes on an adventure of self-discovery in the wild Karoo, meeting different species along the way as he learns his place in the world. Mama V is a wildebeest that takes Khumba under her wings because of her own tragic story of loss in the wild, Bradley is an ostrich that joins the adventure because they are travel together, he likes to be a show man though. We also have the stereotypical villain in the hunter Phango a leopard that is always hunting.

StoryThe story follows a zebra going on an adventure of a lifetime to learn his place in the world, this does follow the normal animated storyline, by putting our character through a test to accept that he is different and that is a good thing for him and will make him be the one to be remembered in the world. We have the inclusion of many different species of animals which must work together to survive the world which helps show us how animals from different locations will need to work together to achieve their own safety. This is one story that is easy to follow, it has moments of peril, but nothing overly scary.

AdventureThe adventure in the movie follows Khumba escaping from his contained life to learn about the full-scale size of his world.

SettingsThe settings show us the world of the Karoo, a beautiful open world safari world.

AnimationThe animation does work well for the whole film and is something good outside of the normal big-name companies that make animation.


Scene of the Movie –
Escape the hunters.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The real world references just miss.

Final ThoughtsThis is an animation that does everything you want without being anything special, it will keep the family happy and tell an important generic story.

 

Overall: Enjoyable animation throughout.

Rating