Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Review Rating: 8
A demonic Djinn tries to free himself from an enchanted ruby, to bring the horde of his terrible brethren and Hell on Earth!
I know, it might seem a little ridiculous. A Djinn, after all, is the original, the devilish counterpart if you will, to that beloved Genie from Aladdin and anywhere else you’ve heard of Genies. A Djinn is a spirit of fire, an evil baddie from Middle Eastern mythology, and for them, all kinds of scary. So it stands to reason if you know all that, you could be scared too. But as Westerners, a good deal of us are way too jaded when it comes to horror, so not only do we need to be educated on the whole Djinn story, the filmmakers need to find some way to make it scary too. Fortunately for all of us, this first incarnation of Wishmaster is a present from that amazing and talented horror master Wes Craven. Which means his zany brand of humor, evidenced in the Nightmare on Elm St. and Scream series, is in clear evidence in this movie. Plus, hey, we’ve got the treat of Robert England too. And I’ve met the man who played the human portion of the Djinn, Andrew Divoff – he’s great, if not actually somewhat shy in RL. Plus there are a bunch of other big names for horror-philes – Reggie Bannister, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Ted Raimi, and Angus Scrimm. (Referencing, respectively: the Phantasm series, 4 of the Friday the 13th movies, Candyman and Final Destination, Evil Dead, and also the Phantasm series again.)
So the Djinn grants wishes. The whole movie starts off in the court of some great Caliph in like ancient Eastern whatever kingdom, where the King tells the Djinn, show me wonders of the world. And the Djinn, being literal like he is, turns the Kings court into a Hell of a wonder, where people turn into monsters or inside-out or become live art. After all, one man’s wonder is another man’s terror. Anyway, the court sorcerer is called in to deal with the Djinn, and imprisons the monster in a special ruby the size of my fist. Cut to present day, where the ruby is in a statue being sent to some art exhibit in New York, and through a series of supposed accidents, ends up in the purview of Alexandra, who is of course the main Protag and apparently the only one who can really get that Djinn. The fiery villain himself gets some of the best one-liners around, including, “That which is immortal cannot die. But if it’s any consolation, sweet Alexandra, that hurt like hell!” after Alex has the Djinn shoot himself. Oh yes. This kind of story is where we get the expression, be careful what you wish for, and is demonstrated very enjoyably in Craven’s unique style. I know there are like 4 Wishmaster movies now, but nevermind that, the first one is all you need. Proof is proof were needed, that there is a concept of Hell no matter where you go on Earth, and there is no escaping the dark desires of the human heart.