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POSSESSED BY DJINN (#HotDocs15 Review)


Directed by Dalia Al Kury

When filmmaker Dalia Al Kury learned the story of Aya, she found herself fascinated. Aya was four years old when her father murdered her. It was stated that her father believed her to be possessed by a Djinn, a supernatural creature found in Islamic folklore. In POSSESSED BY DJINN, Kury not only traces Aya’s story, but also examines the history of the Djinn throughout Islamic culture. She speaks with experts, doctors, and even films a couple of exorcisms.


For a film about an evil demon, POSSESSED BY DJINN really should be more interesting. Even the scenes featuring exorcisms are entirely lacking in any form of intrigue. These exorcisms play out in minutes, with a spiritual leader asking someone if they are possessed, the demon voice confirming, and the exorcist asking the demon to leave. Narrative films like THE EXORCIST show us that it is not an easy task to remove a demon from someone’s body, but POSSESSED BY DJINN shows us that it really is rather simple. Kury does not have enough access to Aya’s case to make that the focus of the film, so she includes brief stories of other families that ultimately lead nowhere. Similarly, the interviews with doctors and experts are quite repetitive, and add little to the film. POSSESSED BY DJINN suffers because of a lack of interesting material, and makes a short seventy-five minutes feel like an eternity of damnation.

1.5 sheep

POSSESSED BY DJINN will have its World Premiere at the HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival, as part of the World Showcase program.

Screening Schedule …

Tuesday, April 28, 6:00 PM, ROM

Thursday, April 30, 7:30 PM, Scotiabank Theatre

Friday, May 1, 4:15 PM, Scotiabank Theatre

For more information and for tickets, please visit

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How many sheep would you give Possessed by Djinn?


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