Thursday, January 22, 2015

Movie Review: Wishmaster

 Wishmaster is like an ode to 80s horror films.  Wes Craven's association with the film probably did more to sell them film than anything creative.  The potential for something different is there, but the film proceeds to be a moderately done gore film.
This film is a great concept, but the execution leaves something to be desired.  

 In 12th century Persia, a sorcerer narrowly prevents his patron from destroying the world through the completion of a prophecy involving a Djinn, a being of fire created before mankind who desires to bring his ilk from the spaces between worlds to rule over the Earth.  The sorcerer traps the Djiin in a fire sapphire.  In modern times, the stone is accidentally released from the statue it was hidden within, and winds up in the hands of an auction appraiser.  While studying the stone, she accidentally releases the Djinn.  The Djinn grants the wishes of the random strangers he meets in exchange for their souls in the most gruesome fashion possible.  Once he accumulates enough souls, he need only grant three wishes to the one who woke him to release his brothers from their prison and rule the Earth.

Mr. Englund happily not covered in latex and make-up.
 So, what we have is an opportunity to explore an ancient myth, putting a dark spin on a fairy-tale.  Ancient Persia was full of monsters and demons, worthy of a few nightmares.  This Djinn is meant to be evil incarnate, an ancient genius of immense power.  The goal it needs to accomplish is relatively simple, but instead of simply pursuing the goal, he toys with his victims and tips his hand to the end-game he is playing.  The film is far less about the concept which attracts our attention and more about one gory wish-fulfillment after another.

 Wishmaster is more of a playground for the special effects team.  The special effects are some of the best of what was being offered in horror-film production of the time, mostly old-school effects with a minimal mix of CGI.  The script is is decent, despite the direction of the story.  The actors are all top-notch, including Robert Englund and Tony Todd.  That only adds to the disappointment of this film; all the elements are in place for something special, but Wishmaster is mediocre at best.
You could have been a contender!

 Wishmaster has some decent moments, and frequently salutes its horror-film roots.  Horror writers are honored with character names like Finney and Derleth.  The statue of Pazuzu from The Exorcist is featured in the art gallery of the collector who brought the statue that housed the Fire Sapphire.  It is a fun romp into b-horror gore, but doesn't explore the depth of potential that it has.    

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