(director/writer: David Charbonier, Justin Powell; cinematographer: Julián Estrada; music: Matthew James; cast: Ezra Dewey (Dylan Jacobs), Rob Brownstein (Michael Jacobs), Tevy Poe (Michelle Jacobs), John Erickson (The Djinn, Escaped Convict), Donald Pitts (The Djinn, Old Man), Jilbert Daniel (Mover), Isaiah Dell (The Boy in Pink); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Ryan Scaringe, Meghan Weinstein, Carter Armstrong; IFC Midnight; 2021)
“Impressive scary indie horror pic.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
David Charbonier and Justin Powell (“The Boy Behind The Door”) are the co-directors and co-writers of this impressive scary indie horror pic, filmed with minimalist dialogue. It was filmed in 2018 before the COVID lockdown. It follows a mute boy who conjures up an evil Djinn (John Erickson) and battles him for survival during one evening. What it misses in dialogue, it makes up for in arresting videos by the DP Julián Estrada’s superb camera work.
In 1989, Michael Jacobs (Rob Brownstein) works nights as a radio DJ until after midnight, while his mute 12-year-old son Dylan (Ezra Dewey), a few months after tragically losing his mom, waits in his new apartment for his loving dad while home alone. The apprehensive kid somehow learns of an evil supernatural entity, a Djinn, that acts as a genie granting wishes and decides to bring up his presence (using a recording describing how to summon the Djinn he finds left behind by the old occupants in the magic book called Book of Shadows) to fulfill his dearest wish to speak again, though he’s aware of the risks to him of it bringing about possible bad side effects.
The creepy Djinn takes the youngster hostage in his apartment, but the over-matched kid cleverly fights back and captures our heart while fighting for survival.
It’s a simple formulaic film but refreshingly good as a modern-day horror pic, one that has created a visually effective way to shoot a narrative.
REVIEWED ON 4/15/2021 GRADE: B