Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
In Trinidad and Tobago folklore a “douen” is a mischievous forest-dwelling creature that appears as a barely-clothed child whose features are obscured by a large straw hat and whose feet are turned backward. According to legend the douen is the result of a child who died before baptism.
Back in 2014 Lexo TV studios, the folks behind the 2012 feature-length puppet/live action comedy film I’m Santana and other related sketches, put their own spin on the folklore character in the short film Douen. And you know what? It was pretty dang good.
Written, directed and edited by Roger Alexis, Douen tells the story of a bratty boy named Jerry (Darion La pierre) who is being babysat by Philomena Alexis Baptiste (the comedic, working class alter ego of actress Deborah Maillard). Jerry refuses to go sleep without a bedtime story and so Philomena decides to tell him a story about an even brattier girl named Cindy (Afiya Grannum) and a douen.
Philomena works both as a comedic character and even as a slightly scary one thanks to some intense lighting effects. The young actors are solid in their roles and Zion Pierre makes for a very creepy douen thanks in no small part to some fantastic and chilling visual effects work by Phastraq vfx (Phastraq CEO Michael Richards appears as Cindy’s exasperated father). The foreboding atmosphere is thick and Douen delivers on the scares and the thrills.
The film works well as a dark fantasy, a light horror and a cautionary children’s tale.
So if you have an interest in Trinidad/Caribbean folklore or children’s fairytales with a sinister twist then a visit from this douen is in order. Be careful though; I hear he likes to eat children.
Editor Jules’s Score: 8 out of 10
You can watch Douen for yourself by clicking here. And you can check out more TT horror content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.