After coming across an ancient tome; a deaf and mute boy, Dylan (Ezra Dewey), summons a dark, ancient entity into his home. By reading through the archaic text, Dylan finds he is at the creature’s mercy and must survive the night with his new roommate to have his “one true desire” granted. The wish that our demon summoner opted for was the obvious choice; being once again united with his voice and his sense of hearing; which is technically two desires but we will let that one slide.
Nothing New is Brought to the Table
Due to Dylan being deaf and mute, there is very little dialogue throughout the whole production. It’s clear that this was done to add a different angle on an age-old premise and to seem fresh; however, it really worked against them. For a movie to have so little discourse and shine because of it; there needs to be some special proverbial rabbits, pulled out of equally proverbial hats; The Djinn simply falls short of the mark and their conceited efforts became the downfall of the whole movie.
Aside from the near-lack of speech, The Djinn tries too hard to present its many “scares” by way of the jump scare. While this is an effective “argh”-inducing means of delivering scares; a movie shouldn’t rely too heavily on them, it just leaves those that aren’t affected bored and itching for the final credits to roll.
The Djinn Conjures up Confusion
Likely brought on by the whole “no speaking” ethos that tries and fails to make The Djinn stand out; the movie leaves a plethora of unanswered questions. Despite giving the movie my undivided attention and watching with the close eye needed to write movie reviews, I was still left confused. A little information is given through spoken passages from the book but aside from this, very little is done to sew the story together. The people in the house, for instance, aren’t explained. They are undoubtedly the risen dead and possessed by the demon, but who exactly they are is left unclear. All apart from one of these representations from beyond being Dylan’s mother.
Little snippets of conversation between Dylan and his dad using sign language (thank you, subs); alongside some scenes where Dylan is watching his late mom commit suicide explain this part of the story. Far more, however, is up to our imagination, I guess.
Giving Dylan’s father more screen time would have enabled the team to explain away a lot of the discrepancies; for some bizarre reason, however, the father leaves the apartment at the start of the movie and only arrives home the following morning. This is yet another part of the movie that’s left unexplained. Given the age of Dylan, there’s no way that he should be staying home alone all night. It just doesn’t make sense.
A Few Redeeming Qualities
With all of the above having been said, I feel I am being a little harsh on director newbies, David Charbonier and Justin Powell. There’s no denying that the sole setting of an apartment and a boy trapped in it with a demon does proffer some pretty suspenseful moments. These fall flat on their faces, however, when they are so often punctuated by unnecessary, ineffective, tired jump scares. Furthermore, the brief glances you get at the actual Djinn reveal a perfectly solid monster that displays the prowess of the makeup and costumes departments of Mad Descent and Kinogo Pictures.
Thankfully, the movie is all wrapped up within 88 minutes, making for a quick watch that you may just like.