Douen is a Chilling Slice of Folklore Horror (Trinidad and Tobago)

Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer

Plot: When Steven’s little sister Emily mysteriously goes missing, no one can point any fingers, until the truth slowly starts to unfold, leading them to discover Emily’s disappearance similarly follows the old Trinidad folklore tale of the Douen.

Now these guys look creepy. Back to funny cat videos

Context: I first came upon the work of young Trinidad filmmaker Riyadh Rahaman and Riyality Studio back in 2021 with the solid short film The Lagahoo (I’ll link that for you below). And he seems to have an affinity for local folklore as 2022 award-winning short film Douen focuses on the titular folklore creature (not to be confused with the 2014 short film of the same name, which I will also link below).

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 (or lack features except a mouth) and whose feet are turned backward. According to legend the douen is the result of a child who died before baptism. So how was Rahaman’s take on this creepy folklore creature? Pretty dang good.

Look at corbeaux! That cyar be good

Review: Almost everything here worked for me. The acting in these small budget shorts usually isn’t the greatest, but Shazeed Mohammed put in some surprisingly good work as worried and skeptical elder brother Steven. Zaf Rahaman is quite believable as the children’s father and Azara Rahaman is quite effective as the missing Emily, though I thought her voice over work could have been a bit stronger. I think what will strike viewers first is the visual effects (the film won Best VFX at the Hollywood Blood Horror Festival September 2022 edition along with Best Horror and Best First Time Director) which are quite well done and deliver on the nightmare fuel. The unnerving cinematography and haunting music help to craft quite the foreboding atmosphere.On the plot, it is simple and well-paced, leading to a satisfying conclusion.

So, if you are in the mood for a tasty slice of folklore then you should check out Douen. Or maybe it will check you out first. Muhahahahahahahaha!

Score: 7.5 out of 10

You can watch Douen by clicking here. And you can check more Caribbean folklore 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.

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