Film Review: The Djinn

Islamic theology, mythology and folklore is full of references to spirits, demons and supernatural creatures. References to the Djinn (Jinn or in Western parlance, genie) are frequent and the concept of these beings has survived throughout the ages. These invisible entities are associated closely with fire and are often said to materialise in animal or human form. Supposed to grant wishes, but at a cost. Sometimes that’s just too high, as it is in The Djinn.

In the late ‘80s, Dylan (Ezra Dewey), an isolated young boy who is mute and asthmatic, witnesses a traumatic event involving his mother (Tevy Poe). Months later, he has moved to a new house with his father (Rob Brownstein), who is a late-night radio host. Whilst exploring the new home, he discovers an ancient book which contains instructions on how to summon a djinn. Desperate for a voice, Dylan follows the steps in the hope of having his greatest wish granted.

Impressively shot, The Djinn transplants ancient folklore into a modern setting to create an effective and diverting horror. Grief and loss combine with an overwhelming desire to be ‘normal’, creating a story where the line blurs between make-believe and reality. David Charbonier and Justin Powell’s film benefits from some nifty camerawork and using the confined setting to maximum effect. While many of the elements in The Djinn may feel overly familiar, it’s a stylish and assured cautionary tale.

The Djinn is released in UK cinemas and on digital on 17 September.

Previous TIFF Review: After Blue
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