Runtime: 1h 22m
Director: Tobe Hooper
Writer: David Tully
Stars: Razane Jammal, Khalid Laith, Aiysha Hart
An Emirati couple return home from a trip and discover that their new apartment has been built on a site that is home to some malevolent beings.
Initial: I’ve had this movie in my hoopla queue for a while, mostly because things like djinn don’t get enough treatment in Western fiction. Otherwise, I know nothing about this film, hadn’t even seen the trailer.
Production Notes: Tobe Hopper’s last film. Was an United Arab Emirates production, filmed in Dubai.
What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead) Dang it, I really wanted this to be a good film. It isn’t. The writing is stilted; the storytelling is clunky and unfocused. It was mostly jump scares. The “creepy” effect wasn’t. Man, there’s so much potential here that I went from disappointed to annoyed over the course of this film.
There is a very underrated part of the movie Devil’s Advocate (1997) in which Charlize Theron’s Floridian Mary Ann Lomax has a very hard time coping with being the wife of an upscale New York attorney. Her identity is chipped away by neighbors and her husband’s coworkers over the course of weeks. That would have been a great starting point for this movie. The posh Dubai apartment building that the couple move into would have been a great subversion of a haunted house, especially if both Khalid and Salama bring their own secrets with them. Salama is dealing with the death of their child and has been taken back to Dubai at her husband and family’s insistence after developing a successful career in the US. Alienation and traditional expectations, layered on the supernatural, that could have been really good. Even the end, when sinners are punished, could have worked if the plot had been more cohesive.