Wednesday, October 21, 2015

2015 October Horror Challenge #57 "Djinn"

I hadn't heard anything about this movie until I started binge - watching every horror movie on Netflix,  with the result that Netflix started recommending every horror movie in their collection to me.  This movie seems to have a lot of detractors (all the other people Netflix recommended it to must have hated it) so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I generally like any horror movie that combines ancient folklore with  modern-day happenings, so I gave it a shot.

The movie is about a young couple, grieving the recent loss of their baby from SIDS, who decide to return to their homeland in an effort to heal.  Unfortunately, they move into a high rise that seems to be haunted by evil spirits (I hate it when that happens).  The movie is pretty deeply rooted in folklore, like I said.  In the opening sequence we learn the legend of the origin of the djinn.  Allah apparently created two beings with free will; humans, who were made from clay, and djinn, who were made from fire.

Soon, we learn another legend, this one telling of a baby who was born half human and half djinn.  After exorcism failed to expelled the Evil djinn spirits, a ritual was performed to seal the child's identity, so he would grow up never knowing about his djinn heritage.  His djinn mother, however, never stopped roaming the earth searching for him.  I love this story, because it engages me in caring about the characters, feeling sad at the sense of loss thst permeates the plot, and also wondering which character will turn out to be half djinn (since I think that's the direction in which the story is headed).

The movie has a lot of jump scares, as the area around the high rise is so foggy it's almost impossible to see, and of course those pesky djinn keep jumping out and scaring people.  As for the married couple, all they really do is fight, and the husband is kind of a jerk, happy about his job opportunity in the new place, not caring that his wife had to leave HER job and her life to return to a home where she doesn't really feel welcome.  People keep asking her when she's going to have kids, like she didn't just have a kid that DIED (assholes) and even the local dogs don't like her, coming out of the fog to bark violently at her whenever she tries to go outside.  As the movie goes on, things get even more strange and it's clear something evil is going on.

Full disclosure: I get why a lot of people don't like this movie.  It's disjointed and confusing, probably intentionally so.  It seemed like a long nightmare to me, so I liked that, but I get why it annoyed people.  I also liked the ending, but again, I can see why people wouldn't like it.  I don't know if they were setting it up for a sequel or what, but it does seem unfinished.  I mentioned earlier that I liked all the jump scares, but many people don't seem to appreciate a bunch of jump scares or a disjointed narrative that seems like a nightmare you had that creeped you out but never got resolved.  I dig it, but it's not for everyone.  Proceed with caution.

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