Saturday, 14 February 2015

Jinn (2014)

Jinn starts off with the potential to be good. It's an interesting take on something that we've seen used again and again in horror movies over the years (with the best treatment being, arguably, in the first couple of Wishmaster movies). That potential soon disappears once the film really gets going, becoming content to put itself forward as a supernatural action movie instead of the interesting horror that it could have been.

Dominic Rains stars as Shawn, a young man who is about to have his life turned upside down as he runs into a destiny that he previously knew nothing about. This could affect, and endanger, his wife, Jasmie (the lovely Serinda Swan), and he doesn't want that. Which partially explains why he's willing to listen to the cryptic Father Westhoff (William Atherton) and his assistant, Gabriel (Ray Park), as they fill him in on that previously-unknown destiny of his. All just in time too, as there's a jinn about to commence battle.

Written and directed by Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad, there are elements of Jinn that I liked. It tries to reposition the creature away from the standard type of baddie that we've seen in the likes of Wishmaster and bring something a bit more complex to the table. It tries. And then it seems to decide against it, instead opting for the kind of thing that we've seen so many times before - a hero who has to endure visions designed to trick him, a battle against supernatural enemies, a world of good vs. evil constantly at war without the rest of the population really taking too much notice.

Rains isn't bad in the lead role, especially in the last reel, and Park gets to show off his usual array of moves, but both Atherton and Swan are underused, with the latter particularly missed during the second half of the film. The only other person of note in the cast is Faran Tahir, who tries his best with a role that doesn't do him any favours, landing him with both expository moments and also a selection of cliches.

Nothing here is awful. The presentation is pretty decent, actually, and you can barely get from one scene to the next without it tripping over some good intentions. But it DOES keep tripping, and we all know where a road paved with good intentions can lead. I don't know how else to say it, except that it manages to become much less than the sum of its parts. There's not enough originality on display here, and what we get is just too dull to be entertaining. Horror isn't a genre that relies on originality, of course, but if you're rehashing so many familiar ideas and moments then it should at least all be done with a bit of flair and style, which this lacks.

Basically, it doesn't completely work as a horror movie, it doesn't completely work as a supernatural action movie, and it doesn't completely work as a blend of the two.



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