Dylan Jacobs (Ezra Dewey) is a mute little boy who lives alone with his father (Rob Brownstein) after his mother’s tragic suicide. They have a loving, close relationship, in spite of their troubles and distressing past. Dylan adores his dad, but can’t help wondering how things could be different. He asks his dad one night if his mom would have stayed if Dylan wasn’t “different.” Like some kind of ancient magic, that night as Dylan is left at home alone while his dad works, a book of spells appears in their home. He pores over each page and unlocks a dark secret that may just be the key to his greatest desires. The Djinn jumps with both feet into the dark, ancient, arcane, and truly scary. Breathtaking horror visuals and perfectly timed jump scares, supported by a remarkable performance from Dewey, will have you at the edge of your seat from start to finish. Unique creature design and creation by Gage Munster pushes the horror visuals over the top – creating iconic imagery that could easily live in the annals of horror film history. Dewey’s performance has nuance and dignity far beyond his years, and includes some of the finest child acting I have ever seen. This entire film centers almost solely on him, as he is left alone in the apartment with horrors unfolding around him. A bold and risky decision for the filmmakers, to center an entire performance piece on a child’s performance – but it more than pays off. Originally intended (and perfectly suited) as a short film, the 82 minute runtime of The Djinn does, at times, feel a bit long- but the way that a long walk in the dark woods feels long. Especially as, for obvious reasons, the film has almost no dialogue. There’s many repeating themes and sequences as Dylan spends his night in a dreamlike, demon-induced state, revisiting the greatest trauma of his life as he watched his mother commit suicide. This wraparound creates some confusion, confusion rooted in fear and disruption – but if the audience is willing to give in to the ancient horrors at work here, it’s easy to let that go. Djinn are a familiar character for those of us with interest in folklore and ancient horror stories, and a cursory definition is given within the context of the film, so it’s perfectly acceptable to go into this movie blind, and let the journey unfold before your feet. It’s dark, and dangerous – but the only way out is through. An incredible score by Matthew James perfectly punctuates the terrors revealed on screens, without ridiculous telegraphing or build up. Orchestral stabs more akin to something by Bernstein or Herrmann once again push this simple concept, tiny cast film into something that will go down in horror history. The Djinn is a diamond in the rough – true, terrifying horror, supported by brilliant performances, a moral, and with one foot planted firmly in the past. Brilliant, beautiful, and truly terrifying.