Terror in Dubai from the man who bought you The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Filmed entirely in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, Djinn is the tale of an Emirati couple returning back to the UAE from the US, only to find that life is not as it should be. Directed by Tobe Hooper, the man behind 1974’s classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Djinn premiered at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. What’s On caught up with its Lebanese star, actress Razane Jammal.0
What did you think when you first read the script? I started living the story in my mind, and got transported to another realm. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to the characters. I felt lucky to get the part and couldn’t wait to start work.
How challenging did you find the role? My character goes through so much in a short span of time; it was hard to put myself in her shoes and understand the choices she made.
How was it working with director Tobe Hooper? Tobe is a master of horror and I was very happy to work with a director of his calibre. I knew him mostly from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I had never done a horror film before and I’m so lucky to have had an opportunity to learn from the best. Tobe was equally excited about the project and was extremely knowledgeable on the subject.
What did you know about the legend of the djinn before you made the film? I wasn’t familiar with it so I did some research. I watched loads of horror films and read books on the djinn. It was a terrifying, yet educating journey. It was helpful being on set in Dubai, because everyone in this part of the world was familiar with the djinn and added information to my research. The way I would put it to a foreigner is that the djinn is the werewolf or vampire of the East.
How do you feel about being part of the first horror film made in the UAE? It’s always exciting to be part of a project that is a novelty. Not only was this my first horror film but it was the first based in the Middle East and directed by the number one horror director. I call that a triple win situation.
Will we see more movies like this made in the UAE? I believe there’ll be plenty more where this comes from. The movie industry in the UAE is growing fast and filmmakers should be able to produce movies of all genres, including horror films.
There were rumours of spooky incidents on set… I started feeling uneasy while filming. People on set were sharing their stories, and you could feel it in the air. I started getting affected and felt that my character was taking over me. I started believing that everything was really happening to me.
That must have felt strange. I went through a depression for two months after making the film. I felt haunted. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep and I was afraid of the dark. I got so paranoid that I was terrified to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I looked for help and went to a spiritual retreat. I got into yoga and meditation, which helped me to resume my normal life.
Sounds intense. What type of films do you want to do in the future? I want to be in action films where I get to kick butt. I’d also love to play an Arabian princess and be in inspirational films that uplift audiences and give them hope.
What’s next for you? I have a movie with Liam Neeson [A Walk Among The Tombstones] coming out next year and I’m considering a couple of other projects.
Djinn is out now in cinemas