The Djinn (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Djinn (2021) Review

Horrorific content by Christina Dee on June 17th, 2021 | Movie Review | Supernatural, Confined, Folk Horror

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A mute boy is trapped in his apartment with a sinister monster when he makes a wish to fulfill his heart’s greatest desire.

The Djinn was directed by David Charbonier and Justin Powell and stars Ezra Dewey, Rob Brownstein, Tevy Poe, and John Erickson, among others.

What is done, cannot be undone

The Djinn Review

If you happened to catch 2020’s The Boy Behind the Door, then you’re already somewhat familiar with what the writing-directing team of David Charbonier and Justin Powell can do on a shoestring budget. They’ve already proven themselves to be masters of suspense, storytelling, and character-building with their stunning debut.

Now they’re back with The Djinn, a more supernatural take on their signature style. But does it deliver on its promise to entertain, or are you better off wishing it fresh out of its spot on your watchlist?

At the center of the storyline of The Djinn is young Dylan Jacobs (Dewey), a 12-year-old boy we first meet on a random night in 1989. Dylan isn’t just any little boy, though. He happens to be both asthmatic and mute, which he worries somehow caused the departure of his mother (Poe). Dylan’s dad (Brownstein) does his best to reassure him that there’s nothing wrong with him and that he’s just fine as he is, but that isn’t enough to reassure Dylan.

One night, after Dylan’s dad heads out to his job as a nighttime DJ, Dylan decides to spend the evening with something mysterious he found in his closet – a dusty old book filled with magic spells. He eventually settles on one designed to summon a wish-granting djinn so that he can ask for a voice. However, he doesn’t heed the book’s warning that summoning the djinn could well cost him his soul.

Naturally, although Dylan doesn’t immediately receive evidence that his wish will be granted, he does start to notice signs of the mysterious djinn’s ominous presence. Electronics malfunction, ghostly figures appear where they shouldn’t be, and all the exits to Dylan’s home have suddenly become impassable. Dylan’s objective is to survive an hour at the djinn’s mercy, but this will no doubt be easier imagined than done.

As you can see, The Djinn doesn’t have a lot to fall back on to tell its story. Charbonier and Powell have one location, a limited number of actors, and a tiny budget to work with, but this is the type of film that makes you forget that. Both Dylan and the titular djinn are interesting enough to carry this film all by themselves. The directors do an excellent job of keeping the tension rising and then sustaining it so that it makes the audience eager to know what happens next.

This entire film manages to feel like an emergency situation, so it’s definitely a testament to what the right approach to suspense can do in capable hands. Julian Amaru Estrada’s incredible camera work makes beautiful music with intriguing sound design from William Tabanou and Nathan Ruyle to set up the scares and visuals in The Djinn to perfection. Add that to the very talented Dewey’s performance, and you’ve got a creepy adventure that’s truly a treat to watch.

Worth Watching?

The Djinn is relatively simple as far as its plotline and storytelling, so you’re not likely to be sitting up all night trying to unravel the nuances. However, its simplicity is rather refreshing in a day and age that finds so many filmmakers trying to say something profound when there’s really no need. This is a terrifying, incredibly creative film that scores a perfect ten as far as what it sets out to do – entertain, frighten, and transport. It’s an experience well worth having, so you’ll most certainly want to add it to your watch list and check it out at your earliest convenience. You’ll also want to watch Charbonier and Powell in the future for sure, as their future endeavors are sure to shine just as brightly.

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