February 26, 2015 Jinn (Movie Review)
It is not very often that horror movies are set in the Middle East. However, the latest offering by Exxodus Pictures, Jinn, released on April 4th, 2014, sets to change all that. Written and directed by Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad (Its a Mismatch 2009, My Soul to Keep 2015), Jinn was filmed using the University of Michigan Law Quad in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Produced by Noel Vega (Cornered! 2009, The Citizen 2012) & Justin C. Hynous (My Soul to Keep 2015), Jinn used their own special effects team, EFX, lead by Joe Coleman in conjunction with a Twist Studios, who did an expert job in recreating a creature not really utilized since Wes Craven’s Wishmaster movies. Steeped in ancient history, Jinn stars Dominic Rains (Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2014, Legends 2014) as Shaun, a married automotive designer of Middle Eastern descent. Shaun’s wife, Jasmine, is played by Serinda Swan (Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Lightening Thief 2010, Tron: Legacy 2010).
Jinn begins by explaining that, when man was created from clay, there was also two other creatures created: Angels from light and Jinns from fire. When man given free will, some of the Jinns disagreed and formed into separate factions, with one of these groups actually wishing mankind extinct. Although Jinn are long forgotten by man, the Jinn have not forgotten them. The story begins with Jasmine burning Shaun’s birthday dinner after he receives an anonymous birthday present. Shaun leaves the gift as he struggles to come to terms with the fact that he may never have his own children.
Shaun’s birthday seems to act as a catalyst for otherworldly, supernatural, and dramatic changes. When he finally opens his mysterious gift, he finds a video tape filmed by his father from when Shaun was quite young. Shaun has little memory of his birth parents, having been adopted, but once he watches the video, it unlocks forgotten memories that he has trouble fitting in to his current life. The sudden appearance of the unusual Father Westhoff (William Atherton: Sugarland Express 1974, Real Genius 1987), who has links to his parents, and a strange man named Gabriel (Ray Park: X-Men 2000, G.I. Joe: Retaliation 2013), only add to Shaun’s confusion. He soon finds that he has been thrust into the supernatural world, discovering that the ancient Jinn are out for his and his family’s blood.
Reconciling this strange new existence with his old one proves difficult, and Shaun rejects the information at almost every turn until undeniable proof is thrust in his face. Shaun must think and react quickly before he loses everything he holds dear, including his sanity. With the help of Father Westhoff and Gabriel, Shaun catches up on his family’s past and learns his place in history. Forced to delve into ancient and powerful entities, Shaun’s life takes a sudden and violent turn. The couple’s future relies heavily on his ability to toughen up and fight, despite the horrors he will face. Will the appearance of Uncle Ali (Faran Tahir: Iron Man 2008, Elysium 2013), enable Shaun to find the strength he needs? Will he be doomed to repeat the past or forge a new beginning?
Not since the Wishmaster franchise have Jinns been featured so predominately and refreshingly in film. The special effects are outstanding, although at times outshine the story. The plot is interesting and very close to being great, but there are some overly dramatic moments, occasional plot holes, and shaky acting that let the film down. However, it is still a very enjoyable movie with plenty of action and the promise of a sequel. The cinematography by Robert Mehnert (Fight Club 1999, The Sum of All Fears 2002) creates and maintains an intense and dark atmosphere throughout the story, with plenty of flash and bang to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat. CrypticRock gives Jinn 3 out of 5 stars.