THE DJINN (2021) – SUPERNATURAL HORROR FAILS TO ENTERTAIN

The Djinn is a 2021 supernatural horror starring Ezra Dewey, Rob Brownstein, Tevy Poe and John Erickson (be impressed with that star cast whoever they are). The movie was released in certain theaters but was then released video-on-demand. However, what impressed me about the movie was not the scares but rather young newcomer Ezra Dewey who played a mute young asthmatic boy stuck in a small apartment with a Jinn quite convincingly.

The movie’s plot is simple enough to explain and borrows on one of Islamic mythology’s supernatural entities – Jinn – like humans, they are created with fitra, neither born as believers nor as unbelievers, but their attitude depends on whether they accept God’s guidance. So they could be either good or bad.

In the fall of 1989, Dylan, a mute and asthmatic young boy and his father Michael move to a new house. In one of the rooms, Dylan finds a dusty mirror and an old book containing instructions for summoning a djinn and having it grant the summoner’s wish. The book states that at one hour before midnight, the summoner must place three drops of blood in a lit candle’s wax and make their desired wish in front of a mirror; the djinn will grant the wish at midnight if the summoner has the required strength of will, but the wish may cost the summoner their soul. Dylan does not tell Michael about the book.

On that night, Michael leaves Dylan at home for his job as a host at a radio station. Dylan takes the opportunity to set up the ritual for summoning the djinn, and he uses sign language to wish that he is able to speak normally. However, it seemingly fails as nothing happens. As he is taking a shower later, the djinn manifests as a cloud of smoke, and after a series of strange events occur, Dylan finds out that the djinn has transformed into a humanoid figure (based on the picture it saw in a newspaper clipping) and is searching for him. After knocking the djinn unconscious (Bravo!), Dylan finds that he is unable to escape the house or contact anyone for help.

While hiding from the djinn, Dylan reads through the book again and learns that the djinn is subject to the laws of physics while in the human world, manifests in the form of dead people, and can be banished by blowing out the candle after midnight; he tries and fails to do so due to the time being before midnight. Dylan hears Michelle’s voice begging for help, and finds that the djinn has manifested as a monstrous version of Michelle. Dylan evades the djinn’s attempts to capture him. A flashback reveals that Michelle had shot herself in the opening scene of the film; Dylan was unable to call out to her due to his muteness, and has felt guilty about her death ever since.

At midnight, the djinn confronts Dylan. Dylan prepares to blow out the candle when the djinn begs Dylan not to make it go away in Michelle’s voice, while holding a knife behind her back. Dylan does not fall for it and blows out the candle, successfully banishing the djinn. Dylan later comes to terms with his guilt about Michelle’s suicide in a dream and accepts that nothing could have been done about it.

On the next morning, the djinn manifests again and in a terrifying turn of events, transfers Michael’s ability to speak to Dylan, rendering Michael unable to speak and rolling on the floor, before returning to the book and causing Dylan who can now speak to be full of regret for his wish.

The atmosphere created is tense and eeiry and you tend to feel empathy towards the character of Dylan. Dylan comes across as a very capable kid and manages to evade the Djinn for far longer than any adult might be able to in such a tiny apartment. The movie is unnerving but ultimately falls flat because of the limited storyline. A bit of background about this particular Djinn would have helped too as it seemingly came out of nowhere and then had a several different abilities but was unable to see at times.

JAY’S VERDICT

Watch The Djinn if nothing else’s is on TV – it’s cheap, fast-paced horror which offers a few good scares but has nothing much plot-wise.

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