When twelve-year-old Dylan’s loving single father works a late shift, he leaves his mute son alone for the night in their new apartment. Upon finding a dusty old book that claims to grant your heart’s desire, Dylan is inspired to see if the book can give him a voice, the lack of which he blames for his mother’s absence. However, the price of having his wish granted is higher than Dylan bargains for.

With a mute protagonist who’s home alone, there’s very little dialogue, which The Djinn makes up for with beautiful visuals and audio. Its 1989 setting is ideal for creating the same nostalgic synthwave aesthetic as Stranger Things, and it has a similarly pleasurable dreamy quality. This in no way detracts from the film’s tension-building or the creepiness of its antagonist, a well-designed horror creation that delivers some excellent jump scares. While threatening, the rich theological origins of the Djinn character go unexplored, leaving the film a little flat where some more context and grounding could have strengthened the narrative.

Moments of humour and a refreshingly warm relationship between father and son keep The Djinn from falling into more obvious horror cliches, though the be-careful-what-you-wish-for premise is a familiar one.

Charbonier and Powell’s story is well crafted but when the energy starts to falter towards the end of the 82 minutes, there’s not much for The Djinn to fall back on besides Dylan. Thankfully, Ezra Dewey’s performance is strong enough to carry the film to the conclusion.

The Djinn is a thoughtful and well-designed piece of contemporary horror, with a moving lead performance from Ezra Dewey. While it leaves a little to be desired in terms of its pace and the depth of the story, it remains an aesthetically interesting piece of filmmaking with some fun thrills.



CAST: Ezra Dewey, Rob Brownstein, Tevy Poe

DIRECTORS: David Charbonier, Justin Powell

WRITERS: David Charbonier, Justin Powell

SYNOPSIS: A mute boy must face the arrival of a sinister presence when he makes a wish to fulfill his heart’s greatest desire.