The Djinn is excellent.
Seriously, I don’t remember the last time I enjoyed a horror movie so much. It weaves a tale of supernatural terror, but the story stays so grounded in reality, everything becomes a hundred times scarier.
In The Djinn, a mute boy (Ezra Dewey) is trapped in his apartment with a sinister monster when he makes a wish to fulfill his heart’s greatest desire.
Check out our review below.
The Djinn Review
The Djinn is basically everything a great indie horror flick should be, proving you don’t need nonstop blockbuster special effects or a cast of A-listers to spark terror in the hearts of viewers. The phrase “does a lot with a little” comes to mind, but that seems almost patronizing for what The Djinn manages to pull off.
The premise is simple: Dylan (Dewey) finds a Book of Shadows in his new apartment. When his dad leaves for his late-night radio shift, he casts a spell to conjure the Djinn, who will grant him his heart’s desire—to have a voice.
Of course, if you’re familiar with Djinn lore (or you know how a horror movie works), there’s always a price to pay. Dylan finds he must survive an hour in his apartment with the murderous Djinn if he’s to reap his reward.
Let me say that again, because you’re probably not thinking about the full implications there. Dylan is trapped in AN APARTMENT with the supernatural creature set on killing him.
One of the reasons The Djinn packs such a punch is the entire thing takes place within one small Burbank apartment. And sure, haunted house stories are often one-location kind of stories…but those also get the luxury of moving throughout a dozen rooms, plus an appropriately creepy attic and/or basement. “Trapped in an apartment” vastly escalates the anxiety of not being able to get away.
And The Djinn capitalizes on this claustrophobia well. After the Djinn uses its powers to keep Dylan from leaving the apartment (holding the front door shut, and magically fixing the glass when Dylan breaks a window), both he and the audience realize the reality of his situation. If Dylan can’t leave the apartment, he hardly has any room to stay out of the murderous creature’s grasp. The entire place is a bedroom, bathroom, and an open-plan kitchen/living area. This movie really takes “nowhere to hide” to the next level. (And left me looking around my own apartment, thinking how bad it would be to be trapped in it with a supernatural killer.)
It’s not just the literal setting either. The Djinn often uses sweeping tracking shots rather than hard cuts to navigate through the apartment, increasing the intensity of the hunter/hunted dynamic and reinforcing that claustrophobic feeling. The camera work is deliberate and intentional, skillful without drawing your attention to it in a way that screams “This is a movie! Appreciate how good at making movies I am!” like some other films.
Instead, you just feel trapped in that apartment with Dylan. My anxiety for this kid was OFF THE CHARTS during this film. He can’t leave. He can’t speak, so he can’t call for help. And to top it all off, he has to keep reaching for his inhaler — just one of many small touches in the film that keep the story feeling real and close to home.
Every actor can’t carry a film on their own, let alone one where they don’t speak out loud. But Ezra Dewey’s performance as Dylan was excellent. I felt every bit of his fear, anxiety, and determination. He’s definitely one to watch.
Overall, The Djinn gives you a powerful supernatural threat, an anxiety-inducing struggle for survival, and a painfully emotional human story all wrapped into one terrifying package. You don’t want to miss this one.
The Djinn comes from IFC and writers/directors David Charbonier and Justin Powell. It hits select theaters and VOD May 14.