Found footage reigns!
This is a found footage film with good production value, long takes, strong acting and surprises at every turn. It is one of the best films of its subgenre. The main set, an allegedly haunted hotel, is very atmospheric. Some of the best horror movies take place in hotels and motels, and it’s not by accident. The creators make the most of their environment and it pays off.
This film has two modes: tongue-in-cheek and batshit crazy. It reaches climax when both styles collide. It happens once around the halfway mark, then every so often. The special effects are sparse but very convincing. The murders are unpredictable. We’re dealing with demons, here; not revenants, not ghosts, but good old hellspawns. They’re mean, violent and erratic.
Casper Van Dien is a parody of himself. The man somehow doesn’t age, and he reminds us why he’s famous. He’s an amazing actor, but he’s expensive and he’s used sparingly. All in all, besides a weaker third act, Darkness Reigns will rub most horror movie fans the right way, and it needs to be on top of found footage watch lists, because this is as good as these get.