Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ezra Dewey, Rob Brownstein, Tevy Poe, John Erickson, Donald Pitts
Written by: David Charbonier, Justin Powell
Directed by: David Charbonier, Justin Powell
MPAA Rating: R for some disturbing violence
Running Time: 82
Date: 05/14/2021

The Djinn (2021)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Mean Speak

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Lifelong pals David Charbonier and Justin Powell offer this clever exercise, a follow-up to their debut The Boy Behind the Door. It's a pretty simple setup, and sometimes simple is best. It's 1989 for some reason, and a 12 year-old boy, Dlyan (Ezra Dewey), who is mute, and his father, radio DJ Michael Jacobs (Rob Brownstein) move into a new house. The previous occupant, who presumably died there, left behind a spooky old spellbook. One night, while is father is working the night shift, he performs a ritual, using sign language, to wish for a voice. Instead, a monster appears and stalks him throughout the house for most of the rest of the movie. The monster appears in different forms, including Dylan's absent mother, and a random creepy old man. With very little dialogue and staying largely within the house, Charbonier and Powell create a gripping, satisfying ride, even if it has virtually no depth. Some of the stuff in the house didn't seem very 1989 to me, but the kid is great, and Brownstein has a buttery DJ's voice, especially when he reads a foreshadowy passage from Pinocchio to his son. See also Tobe Hooper's unjustly hated final film, Djinn (2013).

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