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Overall Rating
2.28

Awesome: 12%
Worth A Look: 20%
Average: 8%
Pretty Bad: 4%
Total Crap56%

1 review, 19 user ratings


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Wishmaster
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Comatose horror film."
1 stars

Wes Craven may be a fine horror director, but that doesn't mean he has good taste in the movies he "presents." Craven's name is splattered all over the ads for 'Wishmaster,' which he executive-produced while shooting 'Scream 2.' I hope his supervisory chores on 'Wishmaster' didn't distract him too much from directing his own movie. Evidently they didn't, because Craven's touch is nowhere to be found in this tired cheesefest.

The movie is your typical mystical slasher flick in the tradition of Hellraiser -- unsurprisingly, screenwriter Peter Atkins worked on three of the Hellraiser sequels. An evil djinn (genie), released from an ancient gem, goes around telling people to wish for anything they want. Predictably, their wishes backfire horribly. A guy wishes for a million dollars; cut to his mother signing a million-dollar insurance policy before boarding a plane; cut to the plane blowing up. And so on. Snore. If played as satire, this could work, but it isn't and it doesn't. And the be-careful-what-you-wish-for premise has been done to death and beyond in better horror stories, from "The Monkey's Paw" to Pet Sematary.

Wishmaster was directed by Robert Kurtzman, better known (to horror nerds like me) as one-third of the special-effects make-up team Kurtzman, Nicotero, and Berger. These guys, who started out on FX master Tom Savini's crew, have done imaginative work for movies ranging from Jason Goes to Hell to Reservoir Dogs, and some of their creations here are impressively twisted. But just as Spawn -- directed by a former CGI whiz -- was a demo tape for CGI, so Wishmaster is a portfolio of latex monsters and gory corpses. Generally speaking, tech guys shouldn't be allowed behind a camera, because as directors they focus on their specialty and let the rest of the movie go to hell; if Kurtzman were a hair stylist, the movie would be called Wigmaster.

The heroine, the improbably named Alexandra Amberson (Tammy Lauren), is some sort of antiques expert; she also coaches girls' basketball (huh?) and feels guilty about her parents' death in a fire. Hearing this, I sighed and sank into my seat. People in horror films are always haunted by guilt or past traumas; it's in the rulebook. The way Wishmaster supplies this information is wonderful: "Oh, by the way, her folks got crisped and she never got over it. And now -- girls playing basketball." Anyway, Alexandra is stalked by the Wishmaster (Andrew Divoff), who wants her to make three wishes. "I wish I could act" apparently never occurs to her.

Die-hard genre fans may be tempted to endure Wishmaster to see the cameos by horror stars. The film features Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Kane Hodder (Jason in the last few Friday the 13ths), Tony Todd (Candyman), Reggie Bannister and the voice of Angus Scrimm (both from the Phantasm series). But if, like me, you're such a shameless horror geek that you actually know who Reggie Bannister is, you'll know he's thrown away here, as is everyone else.

It's good that Dimension Films (a branch of Miramax) is committed to horror films, and I like the idea of Wes Craven supporting the work of new directors. But if you put Wes Craven's name on a dog turd, that doesn't make it a croissant. 'Wishmaster' is a lazy slap in the face to horror fans, who expect and deserve better from the man who directed 'Scream' and the studio that released it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=418&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/09/07 14:08:44
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell IT SUCKS 1 stars
9/02/14 Joe It was ok 3 stars
10/23/13 dr.lao Held my interest at least 3 stars
1/10/07 del Complete and utter silly, stupid garbage. 1 stars
9/30/06 Pritchett Good effects and...well...that's it. Silly, stupid nonsense... 1 stars
12/22/05 chris good 4 stars
7/04/04 J-Dogg The greatest fucking horror movie ever! Djinn rules all! 5 stars
2/21/04 LIAM JACKSON the way the djinn knocks people off is funny. good film 5 stars
12/30/03 Samuel I thought this film was entertaining, and very scary at times 4 stars
11/19/03 Josh Standlee Wake up, people! Wes Craven's work is the work of a genius! 5 stars
11/06/03 American Slasher Goddess A fun, entertaining horror flick. 4 stars
10/31/03 tatum What's really scary is the number of sequels this launched 2 stars
6/09/02 Gummibear X It's not bad, I kinda enjoy the opening. And that guy talks funny... He He! 4 stars
8/01/01 King Jackass Pure shit. 1 stars
5/08/01 Gracy Lionheart A fun movie to watch with a group of friend who intend to make fun of a horror movie!!! 4 stars
3/17/00 Dr Fardook djinn makes a man mean... don't even think of renting it 1 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Can you believe I actually went to the theatre to see this video store shit? 1 stars
11/11/98 Enforcer Starts off with absolute S**T dialogue and an amusingly crappy voice over, and gets worse. 1 stars
9/20/98 MR HOLLYWOOD I Spent Exactly 16 min. In The Cinema And Demanded My Money Back,Fx Crap,Acting Sux,S H I T 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Sep-1997 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Dec-1997




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