Before we get to the meat of the review, I’d like to tell you a little about the meaning of the word Djinn.
It turns out it’s a type of spirit in Islam, similar to an angel. In fact, many Muslims believe that a Djinn can take the form of an animal or a human. In this film, it chooses human. I also read that in Islamic and Arabian mythology, Djinn (or Jinn) are spirits of high intelligence. The Djinn are neither good nor evil, but it is believed that they can possess humans. The Djinn we get to know here is evil. Djinn is a plural noun that means both “demons or spirits” and “hidden from sight.” This is important for you to know so you can get a grip on what’s going on right away. I liked the movie, but, to be honest, this really should have been a short film. I say that not because it isn’t a great story, or evil folklore, actually, but because of how it plays out. One can only watch a child run from an evil spirit in his apartment for so long before it gets a little redundant.
Some audience members could find it a touch tiresome or daunting because of the setting. The child I mention is mute, pre-teen, Dylan Jacobs, played by young Ezra Dewey. Dewey is fantastic in the role. We meet him on a quiet summer night in 1989. We watch him rise from bed and nervously walk toward the kitchen, where he has heard something that bothered him. Eerie music swells; Dylan slowly walks in. He sees his mother standing at the kitchen sink. She’s crying. Then, she turns and looks at him. When she does, the only light in the room, a candle on the counter, blows out. Then we see the title card. After that, we’re suddenly in the fall season of the same year, and Dylan is living with his father, Michael, played by Rob Brownstein. He’s a DJ who often works doubles, leaving Dylan alone at night. They just moved into a new apartment, which Dylan scours when left alone. As fate would have it, he finds something he shouldn’t have. Don’t let the banality of what he finds frighten you off watching the movie. Leave that for the trite nature of how the rest of the film plays out.
Dylan finds, wrapped in burlap, The Book of Shadows. He can’t resist opening it and taking a look, of course. He flips through some pages, finding sections about sacrifices and desires. He also finds the section ‘Wish of Desire,’ which is a ritual used to acquire your greatest desire. It’s made clear that Dylan does crave one thing above all else; the ability to speak. Is this book the answer to making that dream come true? As I’ve mentioned, there’s a lot of this youngster in his apartment, which will get monotonous, I’m not going to lie. There’s also some over the top, but overall, it’s an impressive and compelling little tale. The twist at the end is fascinating. You’ll discover that not only do our youngster have to show bravery by spending an hour with ‘The Djinn’ to get what he desires, but if he doesn’t make it through that hour, the penalty is much worse than not having the gift he thinks he so desperately wants. It’s little nuances such as this that I believe audiences will appreciate what the film was going for, but ultimately, wish Dewey had had a little more help. His performance is excellent, but too much was asked of him to carry most of the film. Telling the entire story in one apartment and expecting the audience to stay with it was a big ask. That said, I hope you do.
Connect with IFC Online
IFC Films Official Site: http://www.ifcfilms.com
Follow IFC Films on Twitter: http://twitter.com/IFCFilms
Find IFC Films on Facebook: http://facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial
Follow IFC Films on Instagram : http://instagram.com/ifcfilms
Director: David Charbonier, Justin Powell
Writers: David Charbonier, Justin Powell
Stars: Ezra Dewey, Rob Brownstein, Tevy Poe
Running Time: 1h 22m
Genres: Horror, Thriller