Wishmaster was a major release with a ton of talent involved, but wound up being a B-Movie anyway. Wishmaster 2 is a straight to video sequel that is a B-Movie from the get-go and is well aware of the fact. In some ways, it actually has this going for it over the first film. Granted, this is a much smaller production with a smaller budget, but it is in the capable hands of director Jack Sholder—the man responsible for the underrated early slasher Alone in the Dark and the even more underrated A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. So it’s not a lost cause from the beginning. Wishmaster was certainly a more polished film, but this one is at least consistent.
The movie begins with a robbery. Our “hero,” Morgana, and her boyfriend are attempting to steal the gem in which the Djinn was imprisoned in the previous film. This goes expectedly bad, the Djinn escapes but only after Morgana flees, and the Djinn kills her boyfriend who was shot and left to die. When the police arrive, the Djinn has assumed his “human form” as Nathaniel Demerest. He is taken to prison, which seems to be a part of his overall plan.
In prison, the Djinn reigns supreme. He really excels here and Andrew Divoff plays him as more of a malevolent trickster, even a Devil figure, than he was in the previous film. His goal is much clearer too: he needs to claim 1,001 souls in order to bring about Armageddon.
Morgana is working with a priest, a former lover of hers who provides most of the exposition in the film. This is a little awkward, given that the Djinn has nothing whatsoever to do with Christian mythology.
Still, the Djinn has found himself in a setting where everybody wants something. And in an even smarter move, decides to claim as many desperate souls as possible by going to a casino so that he can make his 1,001 quota.
While the film’s budget is lower, the kills are more impressive here than they were in the original film. They range from “I wish I was never born” to a man saying he wished his lawyer would “just go f**k himself”—we see enough of the gory details of that one, which is probably the most famous kill of this film, if not this whole franchise.
It may not be a great film and there’s not a lot to keep the characters likeable (or at times even interesting), but Sholder knows what kind of movie he’s working on, he knows the story he’s trying to tell and it never tries to get too ambitious for its own good—which was a problem that the first film got into once or twice.
Still, the scenes with the Djinn and pseudo criminal empire are much more interesting than the scenes with our protagonist. Most of the scenes driving her character and the plot forward actually bring the pace of the film down, at times almost to a painful crawl. There’s not a lot being done to make her interesting and it doesn’t help that the acting from her (and especially her not-boyfriend priest) is less than stellar.
Even still, Wishmaster 2 is a fun little B-Movie with a refreshingly dark sense of humor. It’s a movie that might not go down in horror history, but it will definitely make for an evening’s entertainment.
WICKED RATING: 6/10
Director(s): Jack Sholder
Writer(s): Jack Sholder, Peter Atkins
Stars: Andrew Divoff, Paul Johansson, Holly Fields
Studio/ Production Co: Artisan Entertainment
Budget: $2,500,000 (estimated)