A few of the best locations used for ghost stories or paranormal investigations often enough are in homes, inns, motels and hotels, while other often used these homely places make a better connection to the audience, simply as most heavily familiar with them. Yes, an abandoned factory or desolate location becomes interesting but the connection dwindles greatly, most of the viewers never venture into one, aside from the hospitals, a location already teaming with haunts for obvious reasons. Herein the story is set in an allegedly haunted hotel, giving a very atmospheric appearance interesting, although from the outside it’s very basic, I thought of it hotel turned nursing home. Andrew P. Jones, who served as both director and writer, known to some for his other paranormal tale Haunting of Cellblock 11 (2014) and heard of his upcoming horror sci-fi movie Wild Boar, makes the most of the location, allowing it to speak volumes, while ratcheting the story up to a crazy entertaining level for low budget fans. Wild Eye Releasing unleashes the beast that stars Casper Van Dien on many VOD locations by July 10th, 2018.
In Darkness Reigns, Daniel (Zachary Mooren, in his first horror film) once a nobody in the movie industry depressingly arrives at the premier of his popular movie of the same name, clearly not happy about this idea, but there to tell of how a demon didn’t like being upstaged on a movie set of Defanitus Soul. Well actually, a bit more involved than that, the film setting the clock back Daniel and Aaron (Ford Fanter) get a job for shooting b-roll, handling interviews, behind the scenes footage for a horror movie, thereby moving away slightly away of a found footage movie, finally something refreshing. Daniel films as Aaron takes the lead, the walk about the set, mingling the special effects room, seeing some T&A and slightly embarrassed though all professional. An introduction to Vanessa (Linara Washington, who also worked on Cellblock 11), as a make-up artist just the first person of many who make for the realistic cast, along with Jennifer Wenger (Lavalantula (2015), along countless other horror flicks) stars as Rebecca, gives the camera and audience some sweet looks. Soon Daniel’s headphones and camera picks up, scary images and mournful whispers and screams. As Always no one else hears this, except Peter Mayer (also from Cellblock 11 and Exorcist House of Evil (2016)) as Sidney, a medium, acts very stereotypical, in a deep bass voice, though not as deep as singer Barry White, who warns of the impending doom, later the guide for the journey for the survivors and viewers. Of course, can’t overlook, likely the reason many tunes in to see the film, Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers (1997)) who I swear hasn’t aged since that film, he wonderfully portrays an outrageous parody of himself in all the scenes. Without giving too much away, as horror fans should watch this movie, we have the demonic spirit able to manipulate any situation, that’s a lot of star power, from bleeding walls, mass killing, mimicking the dead’s bodies and even having one person playing with his mother’s intestines. The movie gives numerous references to the classic horror film Evil Dead, The Amityville Horror and nightclub scene similar to The Shining (1980). Although it does take page from Ghost Ship (2002) and the movie uses a bit Psycho (1960) by shockingly eliminating someone famous from the film (guess who) and then piling up the body count.
That’s not to say the movie isn’t without any flaws, such as the typical surviving characters walking slowly in the halls, trusting what they see, even after the slaughtering, bloodshed and other demonic work. Of course, the piano player is an average job tickling ivories just ask him for help, in the chaos, also in this spook fest the common practice of night vision but wide enough shot so all can see it.
The pluses come from nice production value, Casper’s longer inclusion in the movie than a brief cameo appearance, as well as others, of course the location, allowing it to speak volumes, but wasting it with the limited runtime, and lastly minimum usage of ominous music. As for the downside, it results a bit from the script and some of the special effects, namely the ever-changing color of the blood especially when it comes the intestine scenes appears as orange tie-die color, yes a trippy scene, but needs bright or dark reds on the white sheets and walls.
The runtime barley makes it 75-minutes, including the credits, when the normal for a horror film is 90-minutes, yet strives to entertain, the interview that occurs with Casper while informative only goes to pad the runtime further, and shows clearly a limited script. Aside from this, which isn’t a minor issue, the storyline allows for some thrills, some little chills, best to stay with the bigger boisterous paranormal scare fests.
IMDb Rating: 3.4/10 (dropped 3 points in 3 weeks, 26 votes tally 1/10)
Baron’s Rating: 4/10