The Wishmaster films are a somewhat of an odd addition to the horror genre. The wish-granting Djinn truly had the potential to be a horror icon but even after four films, audiences are left with little more than squandered potential, and the series now lives in infamy – known for being pretty crappy, overall. However, if you do decide to dive into the franchise for yourself, here is a quick viewing guide so you will know what you’ll be getting yourself into.
There is a general consensus that the original film in a series is usually the best. And that is definitely true for Wishmaster, which in all honesty is the best of the worst when it comes to this particular series. The movie was directed by special effects maestro Robert Kurtzman, so there are at least some awesome gore gags in the movie’s big party scenes, where the Djinn causes all kinds of gruesome chaos. However, the rest of Wishmaster does not keep up the pace that was set in the beginning, and too much time is spent on the modern day characters discovering the Djinn’s backstory. Andrew Divoff portrays the Djinn in his human form. And though the demon version is way more awesome, Divoff’s voice and creepy smile are actually quite fun to watch while he gleefully goes about town granting wishes to passing strangers. Some great horror actors make appearances here as well, including Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Reggie Bannister, and Ted Raimi. Wishmaster is not a film you will be totally disappointed by but don’t let it fool you into thinking that there are better things to come.
Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies
Though not as painful as what comes after it, this sequel really does nothing to help the series at all. It is basically a rehash of the original, with only minor changes to the plot to remind us that this is supposed to be a different movie. Divoff returns again as the Djinn, and once again spends most of the film in human form, rather than as his cooler-looking demon self. The wishes that he grants are nothing to look forward to. There are only a couple of good bloody scenes which are unevenly balanced with some super-lame sequences. Playing cards are actually used to kill people in one scene. I will say though, that Wishmaster 2 has a nice comedic touch to it, especially in the sequence where a prisoner wishes that his lawyer would “go f**k himself.” The execution of that wish is fairly hilarious. All in all, though, Wishmaster 2 is really just a sequel that is not great but not entirely bad. It’s worth at least one viewing to go along with the original.
Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell
This is where things start to go really bad, folks. The sense of fun and macabre glee that the Djinn’s actions brought to the first two films is completely gone, and this third installment instead opts to make things a bit more serious. The Djinn isn’t even really the main focus of the movie, but that’s actually a relief because he really sucks in this film. Divoff was replaced with a guy with a horrible voice that completely throws the viewer off. This is disappointing, because he does look noticeably different and is way less scary and much less imposing than in the first film. The most ridiculous thing about Wishmaster 3, however, is the point in the film where the spirit of the archangel Michael is invoked into the body of the main character’s boyfriend to defeat the Djinn. Yeah, okay, let’s just move on from that…
Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled
Wishmaster 4 went into production almost immediately after the completion of the third film, but everyone could have saved themselves a lot of time and money by not bothering. The fourth installment is atrocious and not worth your time unless you are a completist. Throughout the whole series, all the Djinn had to do was grant three wishes to the person who awoke him so that he could open the portals that would free his fellow Djinn onto the earth. However, this waker’s third wish somehow confuses the Djinn, and he spends most of the movie in the form of someone the waker trusts… trying to make her fall in love with him. It still hurts to even think about. Whoever thought that this was a good place for the series to go was severely mistaken. It completely ruins the potential that was set up in the first two movies and pretty much takes the series straight the bottom of the pit of stupidity.