Dir.: David Charbonier, Justin Powell; Cast: Ezra Dewey, Tevy Poe, Donald Pitts, John Erickson, Rob Brownstein; USA 2021, 82 min.
After their successful collaboration in Behind the Door, US writers/directors David Charbonier (also the PD) and Justin Powell (editor) get together to torture 12 year-old Dylan, whose new home is the battleground for a fight with an intrusive evil spirit, the titular Djinn. The mute boy is driven to the end of his tether for not heeding the warning, “be aware of the Djinn’s toll, for the gift you seek might cost your soul”. In other words that trusty old chestnut “be careful what you wish for”.
Set in 1989, and aesthetically beholden to this period, Dylan (Dewey) is left to his own devices when his father (Brownstein) goes off to work the night shift, after reading his son a bedtime story from ‘Pinochhio’, with the warning “What’s done, can’t be undone” ringing in our ears. Dylan finds ‘The Book of Shadows’, and asks the Djinn to grant him a voice. The nefarious entity is apt at switching into multiple personalities: Dylan’s mother Michelle (Poe), or an old man who recently died, are amongst its repertoire. The Djinn (Erickson) then chases the boy round the house, leaving him gasping for breath, his Asthma inhaler running out. Come the morning, Dylan is only grateful to be alive, welcoming his father with open arms.
Lacking tempo, and resorting to corny dialogue: “Would Mum have stayed if I was not …. different”, The Djinn is often tedious and predictable plot-wise, right up to the anticlimactic finale. Inventive production values mask a tiny budget, and save this from sinking without trace. AS
OUT ON FRIDAY 17 September