A young boy mourns the loss of his mother, as he and his father settle into their new home. But after finding a mysterious book that offers him the chance for a wish, he’ll find himself facing a terrifying mythical creature as payment. Written and directed by life-long friends David Charbonier and Justin Powell, The Djinn is a tense indie horror that offers more than expected.
At the age of 12, Dylan (Ezra Dewey) is going through a heartbreaking transition, after the tragic death of his mother (Tevy Poe). He moves into a new apartment with his father (Rob Brownstein), and the two begin to settle into their new normal. While unpacking, Dylan discovers an old book that houses a ritual which promises to grant him a wish.
Since Dylan is mute, he hopes to gain a voice. So one evening, when he’s home alone, he performs the ritual and makes his wish. However, that does not come without a horrifying price. When a djinn arrives to terrorize him, Dylan must survive until midnight in order to secure his hearts desire.
While the film is a low-budget indie creation, it doesn’t fall short in delivering a compelling story. Taking place at essentially one location, with just a handful of actors, The Djinn plays well with its limited resources. It’s proof that effective horror comes from passion and creativity. It builds suspense effortlessly and really keeps you engaged as a viewer, holding back just enough in order to play into that. This works particularly well with the monster, as we only get a taste of it in various moments.
There are some inventive camera tricks and framing that heighten the suspense as well. The fact that Charbonier and Powell are able to deliver frights within the confines of a small apartment is such an impressive feat. There’s also a lovely emotional pulse to the entire story (in part thanks to Dewey’s strong performance), which only furthers the impact in the final moments.
The Djinn has a great signature style and tone that feels really connected to the story. Set to an atmospheric score, there’s a nice contrast to the terrors and hollowness of the monster; with a pulsating 80s soundtrack throughout. But don’t let that synthwave element fool you, this is a throughly creepy flick and one to look out for.
The Djinn is in select theaters and On Demand Friday, May 14