Darkness Reigns on Indie Horror with Extra’s Style
By Mike Ritchie
Like hundreds of other found-footage genre movies the action in Darkness Reigns runs through the documentary crew’s camera eye.
The Andrew P. Jones (Haunting of Cellblock 11) directed movie stars Zachary Mooren as Daniel the director, who shows up at the premier solo, racked with sadness, guilt and remorse.
The screening audience will see the doomed movie footage for the first time from a year ago proving that the supernatural does exist and proof that what happened, really did. What we see is mostly a flashback leading up to the opening and final scenes.
Defanatus Soul was the working title of the indie horror film set in a haunted hotel, in Jefferson City Missouri.
“If it sells tickets, it’s haunted” is spoken during early behind the scenes filming.
Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) plays himself in a semi self-mocking role, and an early target of the dark entity’s presence. With Jennifer Wenger playing scream queen Rebecca Logan as the assumed ‘final girl.’
The entity attacks the group in a scene feeling a bit Jim Jones in execution as other victims are burned and possessed throughout. The film has spooky sound effects, digital enhancements and one creepy hotel room scene spelling the end of a character.
Though many have done the style before, the shorter running time of just over an hour makes it more watchable to those that hate the genre staple jerking effect of moving point of view shots.
Early on there’s a token movie in a movie scene of what Defanatus Soul might have been. There’s a certain cool factor with the behind the scenes crew filming characters getting in costume and doing spot interviews with actors on set for the ‘extras.’
Once the destruction begins, the crew spends the second half searching the dark hallways and bowels for another way out. With a tribute to The Shining and a momma’s boy scene in room 234, only a few doors down from 237.
It’s low budget but makes good use of what it has, showing heart along with the blood and guts. Sydney, played by Peter Mayer is one of the films highlights serving as the onscreen spirit sensing medium and narrator of sorts.
The ending/big reveal could be seen as goofy or clichéd depending on point of view though the overall execution till then delivers.
The short run time may attract some and turn others off while Dien purists may watch just for him. Overall it’s not a bad way to spend an hour and change.