Greetings from the Underground!
If you have wished to see a scary, dark new horror film, then on May 14th your wish will be granted. The film is called The Djinn from directors David Charbonier and Justin Powell. The Djinn is the story about a mute boy named Dylan Jacobs who lives with his father Michael. Michael works nights as a D.J. meaning Dylan is often left home alone. After a major traumatic event, the two move into a new apartment. At the apartment Jacob finds an ancient book filled with stories of magic and spells. One of the spells refers to a being that could grant you your heart’s desire, The Djinn. While the father is away at work, Dylan decides to try and conjure The Djinn, not fully believing it would work. Dylan soon finds himself trapped in the apartment with a sinister being who wants to kill him. His only hope is to use his wits to survive until his father comes home.
Charbonier and Powell, who also wrote the screenplay, manage to combine the child in peril story with the classic theme “Be careful what you wish for”. While the story itself is one we have seen before, the fact that it involves an innocent child versus an adult adds an extra element of horror. It plays on the childhood fear of being home alone and thinking there might be something in the house that wants to do you harm. Heck, sometimes we still feel that as adults. Then there is the fact the child is mute, meaning he is unable to scream for help. This adds another layer of helplessness for Dylan. As a parent, I wanted to rush to this apartment and help. That is how engrossing I found the story.
One of the major components that helped pull me into the story immediately was the performance of Ezra Dewey as Dylan. It is asking a lot for a young actor to carry a film, especially a horror film, but Dewey proves to be up to the task. He sells the curiosity, the fear and the emotions needed for a part like this. I never found his character annoying or doing something that seemed out of character for a kid. His motivations for doing what he did were completely understandable. This is definitely a sympathetic character you will be rooting for.
I found the creature wonderfully creepy. For most of the film, you are never given a complete picture of its form. That unknown creates a level of fear. It also helped contribute to the possibility that what we were seeing was all in Dylan’s head. After all, children do have quite an imagination. The majority of the movie takes place in just one location, but the creative cinematography kept it interesting. It also seemed bigger than it actually was at times, giving the viewer the impression that they are also a child. The sound design was amazing and helped maintain an atmosphere of danger and discomfort, especially in scenes with the Djinn.
The Djinn is a spine-tingling atmospheric horror film that brings back our childhood fear of monsters. The story is engaging and Ezra Dewey gives an amazing emotional performance as Dylan Jacobs. It has a lean runtime and an ending that left me misty eyed. I highly recommend it and wish that you will enjoy it as much as I did.