The Djinn: A Fairy Tale of Terror

By RodneyHatfieldJr for Indie

I came across this little number by accident. But I am glad I did. It is exactly my kind of movie. An Indie film with a simple concept, but the magic lies within its execution. "What is done cannot be undone" I love that tagline. Before we get started, you can find it on VOD.

Here is the whole movie (minus spoilers) concept. The Djinn is about an Autistic and mute twelve-year-old Dylan Jacobs (Ezra Dewey), who just moved into a new apartment with his dad, Michael (Rob Brownstein). The year is 1989, and Michael works nights as a radio DJ, which means Dylan gets left home alone all night. Since they just moved, Dylan has yet to make any friends, and he’s still struggling with the loss of his mother. Then he discovers an old Book of Shadows left behind by the previous tenant, which contains a ritual that promises to grant the performer’s greatest desire. Getting that wish comes with a catch; an evil Djinn will only give it if you follow specific rules, lest it takes your soul. Dylan becomes trapped and embroiled in an intense battle for his life.


The movie reminds me of Saw. It plays out entirely within the limited space of the apartment. Directors/writers David Charbonier and Justin Powell find ways to maximize that space to maintain visual interest and suspense. The cast is short it is almost nonexistent. Young Dewey carrying much of the film on his own. Another aspect I liked was the filmmakers don’t bother with adding complicated mythology, either. I know what a Dijinn is and I also know the  Monkey’s Paw scenario. If I don’t, I will look it up. Don’t waste my time. 

The film has a firm grip on pacing and escalation. The film's ability to make full use of space is remarkable. The Djinn is minimal in location and design, yet the way the action and scare sequences are staged creates breathless tension. Everything on screen has a purpose. Dylan’s soul is on the line. 


Indie budgets are a mere fraction of large studio releases, yet carry tension well beyond what they have mustered. The Djinn doesn’t have anything fancy; it’s a quick, precise horror-thriller unafraid to inflict severe punishment upon its youthful protagonist for daring to wish and dabble with dark forces. In the process of delivering effective scares and taut suspense. Because of this, I will be watching for more Charbonier and Powell projects.  

Economical. Incredibly well shot, and a fantastic performance from the kid who carries 90% on his shoulders alone. It packs a lot of tension and scares and emotion in a very short runtime. 4change of pants out of 5. A solid horror entry from IFC Midnight.

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