a critiQal film review Wishmaster (1997)

Plot: Alexandra (Lauren), a gemologist, comes across a rare fire opal, and gives it to her friend to run some tests on. As he works, the gem splits open, revealing a Djinn (Divoff) - an ancient evil being with unlimited power. There's a catch - it can only use it's power to grant wishes. Since the Djinn was awakened by Alexandra, he needs her to make three wishes - and then her soul will be his.

Reviewed
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  • ...thanks in part to appearances from a few slasher flick legends, this series is off to a decent start.

So, are you a big fan of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Friday the 13th (1980) and Candyman? Didn’t think you’d ever be able to see Freddy, Jason and Candyman all in the same film? Well, the wait is over…sort of. Wishmaster, from executive producer Wes Craven, contains all three…actors, playing different roles.

Still, being a big fan myself of a few of the aforementioned horror flicks, I couldn’t pass this one up.

Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, and Tony Todd…any horror movie buff knows these three as Freddy, Jason, and Candyman, respectively. Can they act outside of the makeup? Well, Tony Todd has shown up in a few other films before (The Walking Dead and Final Destination (2000), to name a few) as has Robert Englund, but Kane Hodder isn’t a household name as much.

They all show they know what they’re doing, with or without the makeup on, even if they are a bit cheesy, not to mention small roles.

Tammy Lauren, the main female character, does a decent enough job for a horror flick, not flubbing up too much and not being painful to watch.

The real standout, though, as it should be, is Andrew Divoff as the Djinn. He does a surprisingly good job as the villain of Wishmaster, and I’m surprised I haven’t seen him in other films.

The plot did what the best of the slasher flicks do – it combined mythology or fable with present day life, bringing an ancient evil to the present day. Hellraiser (1987) has been a prime example of this concept, and this film differs enough so that it has an original plot. The prime plot point (the Djinn needing the victim to wish for something before he can harm them) is a great one, and they really use it well here.

The special effects vary throughout Wishmaster. With the large amounts of violence, the large body count, and the gore showcased, it’s only expected for a lower budgeted picture. Some of the gore was incredibly realistic, while others seemed to look just like shaped clay. The best thing about it was that the less-real effects weren’t concentrated in one particular spot in the film, they were interspersed throughout. If they had been grouped together, it would have ruined that particular scene. When they are mixed in with other, more realistic effects, the effect the cheesy effects have is lessened, helping the viewer to stick with it, even through the obvious fakery in some scenes.

With “Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies” (TV) included on the DVD and 3 and 4 already out, with who knows how many others on the way, it will be interesting to see if this will become the latest of the fondly remembered horror serials. Will this join the ranks or be delegated to Leprechaun status?

Don’t know, but I’d say the series is off to a good start.

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