“Once, in a time before time, God breathed life into the universe. And the light gave birth to Angels. And the earth gave birth to Man. And the fire gave birth to the Djinn, creatures condemned to dwell in the void between the worlds…Fear one thing in all there is… FEAR THE DJINN.”
Damn that line was fucking cool. You heard that and you just knew you were in for something AWESOME, and it was so true…in 1997 when I watched Wishmaster, where that opening line is from. This shitty movie on the other hand has neither the awesome lines nor the unmitigated cool of that horror classic…it also doesn’t have Robert Englund or Andrew Divoff, but I digress.
Filmed and set in modern day Michigan, Jinn centers around Shawn (very pretty Iranian-born actor Dominic Rains), whose family has been long cursed by the Jinn and now, with help of an eloquent mental patient, Darth Maul and a priest, he must fight to blah blah blah or he and his beloved will be blah blah blah for all eternity…or something like that. Trust me, you are missing nothing from my lack of description.
Also, interestingly enough, and in glaring contrast to Wishmaster (and Aladdin) the Jinn is not a big, frightening-looking, hell-born creature which breeds fear in the hearts of men. No, in this movie the Jinn is a nasty, dirty, stringy-haired naked guy sitting cross-legged in a mud hut waiting for someone to fight…spooky.
Anyways, Shawn receives a badly wrapped mystery box on his birthday which leads him on the path to discovering his family’s cursed legacy (dum dum dummmmmm). At which point, of course, the Jinn take Shawn’s wife Jasmine (ahahahaha seriously?) and now our lead must face a series of perilous tests (which exist only in his mind) so he can defeat the evil hordes or…holy merciful crap this movie sucks.
Laughable and wholly predictable from start to finish, Jinn really does not have much going for it, except that after 97 minutes, it has the good sense to end. BUT not before a lot of really silly things happen…like what, you ask? Well, like the karate fight at the mental asylum, tai-chi like spell-casting by Darth Maul, Vulcan mind-meld in the mental ward (no I’m not kidding). Oh, and did I mention the part where Shawn uses “the force” to bring his magic knife to him? No? Well, I full on expected frikin Yoda to show up at that point.
My absolute favorite though is when Shawn is about to face a group of smoldering Jinn (the leader of which totally brings to mind the Evil Zurg from Toy Story 2) and he takes his shirt off…which I suppose serves some type of logic, but seriously, shirtless fighting of creatures made of fire? He’s got a very nice body, but goddamn it dude, put your fucking shirt back on…gawd.
I have a soft spot for movies based on myths, and the djinn myth is one that I find deeply fascinating; but, the entertainment industry being what it is, I was guessing the movie would be less substance and more slow motion fights. And that’s alright, I dig me a bad horror movie, usually those are the most fun. So although I wasn’t expecting much, I had hoped, at the very least, to be entertained by some campy fright-fest. But there was no camp, no tongue in cheek antics, this flick took itself way too seriously and so did every single member of the cast. I hate when bad movies don’t know they’re bad and the cast tries to be all serious and high brow; it’s cheese, not Chekhov, get with it already.
So, final words…I don’t like saying that movies are awful, because usually I can find something enjoyable in every film AND I have been known to watch bad movies repeatedly because they offer some form of entertainment. There are very few horror movies out there that don’t merit another look as far as I’m concerned; but as for Jinn, there is only one term that properly fits it, because no matter which way you look at it, it is completely and totally Unwatchable.