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Djinn, The


Stars: Ezra Dewey, Rob Brownstein, Tevy Poe

Director: David Charbonnier, Justin Powell

Being fond, as I am, of puns, it would be nice to report that The Djinn is a tonic. Sad to say that, if anything, the reverse is true. A grim little number that develops into a horror-film equivalent of Home Alone, the film centres on Kevin - sorry, Dylan (Dewey), a voiceless 12-year-old left alone for the night while his midnight-DJ father (Brownstein) is at the studio.

Finding an old book wrapped in sacking, Dylan discovers it to be The Book of Shadows, one page dealing with the summoning of an evil djinn (or genie) who can grant one wish if the wisher survives past midnight. But beware, the book adds - 'the gift that you seek may cost your soul'. Wanting his voice back (a slightly better reason for summoning up evil, I suppose, than chanting 'Candyman' five times), Dylan invokes the spirit.

At first, the djinn seems like an ordinary, rather disreputable bloke with a moustache, blundering around blindly and emitting black smoke. But, as the book warns, the noisy djinn may also assume the appearance of one dead. This turns out to be Dylan's mother (Poe), who shot herself a few months earlier. And Dylan spends the rest of the night trying to evade the djinn's deadly clutches.

After a first 20 minutes that is deadly s-l-o-w, the film does get down to stalk-and-slash business, and there's a nasty little twist at the end. Not the best horror you ever saw, but it has its moments.

Buffs might be amused by the credits, which include a producer billed as Ryan Scaringe and a make-up artist credited as Gage Munster.

David Quinlan

USA 2020. UK Distributor: Koch Media. Colour (unspecified).
81 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 16 Sep 2021