Directed by Tobe Hooper
Written by David Tully
Produced by Tim Smythe, Daniela Tully, Tim Andrew, Robert Crippen, Jaye Gazeley
Starring Razane Jammal, Khalid Laith, Aiysha Hart, Abdullah Al-Jenaibi, Carol Abboud, May Calamawy, Militzia Radmilovic, Kristina Coker, Ahd, Malik McCall, Paul Luebke, Saoud Al Kaabi, Ahmed Abdullah, Soumaya Akaaboune
Constructional codes are, unsurprisingly, as lax in the UAE as in nearly any other locale of a horror movie in disregard of demonical phenomena, which is how a de luxe, residential high-rise was raised on the site of a town deserted decades before in the aftermath of a filial, apotropaic tragedy that befell a feminine jinni (Radmilovic, Coker, Ahd). Its first occupants are bereaved Emirati spouses (Jammal, Laith) who’ve repaired from NYC to exploit an occupational opportunity and recover from the loss of their newborn, but that aggrieved, antecedent numen darkens their first day domiciled. Don’t expect the gritty vision or frantic focus that begat his best early works from Hooper, who oversaw his final, jejune, overedited, otherwise unobjectionable production with the perfunctory professionalism common to his career’s final quarter-century. Affected by Penélope Cruz syndrome, his attractive cast talk naturally in Arabic, but stiffly speak English dialog likely stipulated by distributive demands. Arab folklore and Muslim myth are rich, largely untapped sources of fictive horror granted summary treatment in this filmic trinket that’s easy on the eyes and nerves alike, and probably the front of a terrific tax shelter.
Instead, watch Born of Fire.