The film's premise, although not so original, is a cool way to tell this paranormal horror about a film crew telling a story about a paranormal horror. The writing does a decent job creating this traditional styled nightmare, obvious wholes and notable plausibility not withstanding. Something you come to expect in most found footage stuff. It manages to work as well as balancing on a playground seesaw, some of it does good to come alive and other moments fall dead. Pun intended.
The cast offer a mix bag of believability and bland hollowness, with a few actors staying on point and giving great, believable performances as their characters. Some scenes feel contrived, while other- limited in dialog- flow smoothly and convincingly. Sadly the more dialog heavy, drama rich moments that, at times, fall short tend to be the times we get the much anticipated deaths.
Special effects and creature effects stick with the typical, lesser budget, styles paranormal horror leans on. It works on almost all levels. The ghostie stuff is cool and melds effortlessly when added and do very little to weaken the overall intentions of both Director and FX department. One of the pluses for "Darkness Reigns". Creature concept was nicely done, reminded me of stuff from "Silent Hill" and "Dead Space". I did feel the demon was more Buffy and less horror feature, creating a flat tone to its scenes.
Overall, "Darkness Reigns" was a well done film that had plenty, including Casper Van Dien, going for it, even with the parts that went wrong. It won't appeal to some, but I enjoyed this one. It isn't a big action packed nightmare wonderland, but "Darkness Reigns" does offer a slow burn, paranormal story with some fun effects. Atleast worth everyone checking out once.