David Charbonier And Justin Powell’s ‘The Djinn’ (2021) Is Lean And Mean – Movie Review

When you’re young, independence itself can be pretty scary. Most kids don’t have to deal with that while being haunted by an evil, wish-granting spirit. Unfortunately, one night after his radio host dad is called in for an overnight shift, young, mute Dylan Jacobs (Ezra Dewey) is planning a spooky ritual in an attempt to regain his missing voice.

Synopsis for The Djinn:

A mute boy becomes trapped in his apartment with a sinister monster after making a wish to fulfill his heart’s greatest desire.

Originally, what piqued my interest in David Charbonier and Justin Powell’s (read our interview with them here) film was its mythological connections as well as similarities to Wishmaster, my favorite horror movie starring Andrew Divoff as an evil, wish-granting creature. But while Divoff adds a devilish debonair to his Djinn, this one is downright diabolical and implacable, pursuing young Dylan throughout the film’s runtime, unwilling to show the slightest mercy to him because he’s a child or because he is disabled.

On that note, Ezra Dewey is a young actor to keep an eye on. His nonverbal performance is astounding for an actor of his age. His performance is a strong combination of ASL and body language, but not a single iota of his work seems to be misplaced or miscommunicated. I empathized with the young boy as he struggled through his plight in the film. His is not your average child performance, neither saccharine or awkward. Dewey plays the scene exactly as needed yet finds heart in the work for audiences to connect to. I was quite impressed.

The Djinn is also helped by its claustrophobic setting, retro set design, and score by Matthew James. The latter two create a comprehensive ’80s vision and a pure sense of dread for the film, a feeling of no escape for young Dylan. The Djinn also utilizes fluid motion of the camera to both sell the movement of the Djinn and the tense nature of the enclosed apartment.

However, just like the setting—newly moved-in apartment—there aren’t a lot of frills to the story. It’s lean and mean, compressed to the singular setting, and while that may not work for some, it worked for me. It felt like further realization of the potential of Stephen King’s 1408.

Final Thoughts

Between its retro score, smooth camera moves in limited space, and scares, The Djinn will haunt your eyes, ears and mind… Just don’t wish for everything to go without a bump in the night.

The Djinn is available on digital and on demand now!

About Chris Filipowicz

Born in small town Montana, Chris is a writer, artist, raccoon rehabilitator, and general supporter of disability rights and awareness. He loves film, especially horror, sci-fi, and animation; and has read comics since he was a child.

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