Jinn (2014)–film review

I hadn’t even heard of this film until I saw this TV spot above about a week or so ago. And, with this quick look this film appeared to be one of those films you simply don’t see on the big screen anymore. It used to be commonplace to see true indy films of all genres at your local theater. That pretty much died out in the late 1980s. All those types of film go direct to video. And, even though this flick does have one of the current looks of a D-T-V feature, it was good to see something like it at my local theater.

The film begins in India in the very early part of the 20th century. A man and his descendants are cursed by a Jinn who had kidnapped a girl that the man tries to rescue. This is a very good scene. It was the first of many well-crafted supernatural horror scenes. These parts are the best element of the film to be sure. Everywhere to the editing, sound design, camera work, and the effects (practical and CGI) are at their respective bests.

The film then zooms forward to modern day Ann Arbor, Michigan. There we find Shawn (Dominic Rains, General Hospital), an automotive designer and a descendant to the man from the beginning. He and his wife (played by Serinda Swan, Graceland) are just starting to notice odd things happening. The creepiest of these was a silhouette of a man in a window across from where the couple lives that never seems to move.

Shawn then receives a video tape with a message from his father who died when Shawn was a child. The message is a warning of an approaching doom; the message is sent with the hope he can avert this fate. Shawn is then contacted by man named Gabriel (Ray Park, X-Men), a priest played by William Atherton (Ghostbusters), and a man in an insane asylum (Faran Tahir, Star Trek-2009), who all have come aid in his predicament. They knew his father and his trials with the Jinn. With any doubts regarding the existence of a supernatural creature screwing with his life shattered after a run in with the title character, Shawn becomes game to illicit the help of these men.

There’s a lot of “good enough-s” in this film: the story is good enough; the lead actor is good enough; the scenes between the “good stuff” are good enough. I know some of my liking of this film is due to being able to see a genre film of its level in a theater again. But, I did in fact like this film. It’s really not very scary, but the writer-director, Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad does a very good job on those mentioned supernatural scenes. There’s some good mood, jolts, and images within these scenes.

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The film also has some pretty nifty bits in it as well: there’s a dagger etched with a symbol that pays tribute to the three major religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism; there’s a sequence that allows Ray Park to show off his martial art skills as he’s fighting off some Jinn-influenced mental patients; and, last but not least, a killer Camaro that goes by the name of Firebreather. This car was in the lobby of the Emagine Novi where I saw this film.

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Now, this film isn’t any masterpiece. It’s just a good old fashioned drive-in theater popcorn munching movie. And, the world needs more these projected on a big screen.–Charles T. Cochran

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

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