No matter how knowledgeable we may be on a subject, we all have gaps. There is always something that we can add and continue to grow. I’ve seen a lot of horror films and have a pretty solid base but I am constantly coming across films that I’ve either missed or remember next to nothing about. Enter Wishmaster, the 1997 Wes Craven produced fantasy horror film that I kind of remembered liking at the time but couldn’t tell you anything about it. And after re-watching it, there might be a reason I don’t remember much about it.
Wishmaster is a film about evil djinn, or genies, that are waiting for a human to make three wishes so that they can be released and rule the world. These aren’t fun nice genies like in Robin Williams in Aladdin but rather Jafar ratcheted up to 100 and kind of demonic looking.
The film starts well enough with a Persian sorcerer and royal confidant, working to create a magic gem that can entrap the evil djinn and save the kingdom. On his way to the throne room to trap the djinn, the mayhem of poorly worded wishes is on display. The royal subjects are being turned in to all manner of impressive looking beings and I think that the film may have blown the majority of its budget on this one scene alone as it never reaches these heights again. Anyway, the sorcerer captures the djinn in the gem and we fast forward to present day where a rich dude played by Robert Englund is awaiting his latest ancient statue. Due to some series HR violations by the dock workers, the statue is dropped (on someone, crushing them) and the gem stone is found.
From there you can pretty much guess what happens, gem ends up exposed and the djinn escapes into our world and sets out to once again try to take it over. Andrew Divoff, who plays the Djinn, does what he can with the ridiculousness of his character but it never really works in establishing him as something to be feared. The Djinn is kind of just a prothetic heavy joke.
I’m honestly surprised this film came out in 1997 because it feels in the same vein as something like 1989s Warlock (which is also a much better film). And I’m even more surprised that it somehow managed to produce three sequels.
So back to my remembering liking the film originally. I can only imagine that I was intrigued by the concept and to be fair, I still am. I think exploring the djinn could allow for quite a great horror story, this just isn’t it.