The last I can recall any mention of a djinn in a horror film is with the Wishmaster franchise, which started in 1997. The djinn of that series was an evil entity that could grant wishes, sort of a malevolent genie. Fast forward almost 20 years and Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad has brought us a completely different take on the evil beings, in his film Jinn.
After a mysterious package arrives at his door, Shawn (Dominic Rains) and his wife, Jasmine (Serinda Swan), learn of an ancient curse, which has put them in grave danger. It is Shawn’s bloodline that has led him to this fate and he must learn to embrace it, in order to rid the world of the evil spirits known as the Jinn (evil Jinn or shaytan).
I can’t recall ever seeing a genre film quite like Jinn. There are elements of science fiction, fantasy, action, and above all else, there are tons of tropes plucked straight from a super hero flick. Director and writer, Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad, has created a film around the ancient Islamic and Arabian mythos of supernatural creatures known as jinn. Based on the belief that three races were created at the beginning of time — humans, angels, and jinn — Ahmad has said of his movie that he is introducing the Western world to the true beliefs behind the mythology. All of this is wrapped up, however, in a clever blanket of training sequences, fight scenes, and the realization of one’s true power a la every super hero or comic book flick ever made. This isn’t a bad thing, though, because I am a huge comic book fan and can never get enough nerdiness in my life. Hell, Jinn even has some post-credit scenes… again, kind of like every Marvel movie released in the past 10 years… and our hero had his own set of kickass wheels akin to the Batmobile!
While I think Jinn was reaching a little too far beyond its means at certain points, it still managed to produce some pretty impressive fight sequences, using some badass looking special effects similar to what can be seen in another film about evil entities, Odd Thomas. Although rather short, the battles between Gabriel, played by Ray Park, and the jinn and Shawn and the jinn were all pretty neat to watch.
The acting isn’t the best I’ve seen, but it certainly isn’t the worst either. I admired what Ray Park and William Atherton did as Gabriel and Father Westhoff, respectively, but some overly dramatic acting by Serinda Swan and Dominic Rains seemed to hold this film back from ever being really great.
I respect what Ahmad and his team have done here and I think Jinn is a breath of fresh air in the horror world. While it had its shortcomings, it was adventurous and wasn’t afraid to step outside of the box from time to time. There is potential here for a sequel and I’ll definitely be one of the people watching, if one does ever come to fruition, hopefully expanding a bit more on the mythos of the creatures and with a bigger budget, too.
If you’re interested in checking this film out, you can pick it up now on DVD from Freestyle Releasing.
I give this film 2.5 religious symbols out of 5.