Hi again ghosts and ghouls! I know, it’s been forever. I don’t remember the last time I wrote a review, and to be quite honest, that makes me sadder than you know. Horror is such a huge part of my life, and part of my 2020 resolutions was to make more time for things I love. So here I am – making time to review more spooky things in 2020!

I’m honored to start the year off with a review of the film MAJNUNI, directed by Kouros Alaghband and Drew Hoffman. Majnuni, the word itself, in Persian and Arabic, translates to “a form of longing that makes a lover go insane”. We’ve all probably experienced something along those lines, right?

Everyone has experienced a relationship where they feel such an intense longing for a love lost, that it drives them to do things outside of their character. I don’t expect, though, that it would lead most people to the situation we encounter in MAJNUNI. Adnan, a man dealing with his lost love, Nela, goes through such an intense emotional and mental transformation dealing with his feelings, that he embarks on a path of stalking a family on the brink of destruction.

The film is shot beautifully, on the streets of Sarajevo. The exotic, luscious lights and perfectly imperfect buildings make for an intriguing setting through the film, while sprinkling in tastes of home: a comfortable couch where Adnan watches his breakdown directly in front of him, feet up on the table and all. The colors are unsettling and uncomfortable – they provide a sense of dread and tenseness, dark and dreary, with one scene juxtaposed by bright colors but a general feeling of absolute insanity while Adnan performs on stage.

Taking visual effects like lighting and color, and juxtaposing them with the storyline around them is a clever way to keep the audience intrigued, as you feel for each character personally while their stories unfold. The music is subtle (with the exception of Adnan’s performance) but still distressing enough where it does play an important role in the overall feel of the film.

What steals the show, though, is Adnan Omerović’s performance as our lead, also named Adnan, as he descends into madness while he stalks, and disassociates within his own mind so intensely that the film itself closes out with him wearing someone else’s suit.

Twists and turns are prevalent here, too. Having read the description of the film and then watching half of it for myself, I thought I had it all figured out…but once I finished, I now believe I had the story wrong the whole time. You’ll form an opinion about certain characters, only to find out that perhaps your feelings are unwarranted and they’re more complex than you think. It’s a wild ride watching these stories tangle together, then untangle, then tangle again. Just when you think you have it figured out, something else will catch your eye that unravels your opinion again.

While you may not consider this your traditional horror film, or even a thriller where the stalker is so in-your-face that it consumes the whole storyline, it’s uncomfortable, different, and a story I’ve never seen before, making it a really enjoyable watch that I will definitely have to give a second watch-through to see what I missed the first time. Start off the year with a great film that will truly discombobulate your feelings on whether or not it’s worth it to fall truly, madly, and deeply in love.

Until next time, ghosts and ghouls, stay spooky! Thanks for reading!

Taylor Krauss
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