Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999)
Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999)

Genre: Fantasy and Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min.

Release Date: September 17th, 1999 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Jack Sholder Actors: Holly Fields, Chris Weber, Andrew Divoff, Vyto Ruginis, Paul Johansson, Robert LaSardo, Carlos Leon

 


 

T

hieves break into an art gallery to steal some priceless paintings, but accidentally set off an alarm. A shootout ensues, leading to the shattering of a 3000-year-old statue of Ahura-Mazda, which releases an entombed opal. Since it gets carefully tucked away in Morgana’s (Holly Fields) jacket, the glowing crimson gem quite luckily stops a bullet – which cracks the ancient orb in half to release an evil djinn (Andrew Divoff) imprisoned inside. Morgana’s partner, Eric (Chris Weber), dying from a painful wound, just so happens to wish he was never born, setting in motion the djinn’s goopy rebirth (once again going completely unexplained) and a new prophecy to fulfill (the collection of an exhausting 1001 souls).

In a strange storyline deviation, the djinn assumes the identity of his alter ego: quirky, permanently smiling human Nathaniel Demarest, specifically to plead guilty to killing the museum’s security guards so that he can end up in prison. Though the djinn has to stumble around with his continual insistences that others make impromptu requests, he does manage to very, very loosely interpret wishes – to the point that wishes barely need to be statements. When a fellow convict asks to pass right through the cell bars and walk out of the building, the djinn has the poor soul’s body scrunched up into a ball of broken bones and bloody pulp to wriggle, quite hilariously, through the skinny opening, literally pouring onto the other side in a goopy mess. Curiously, however, the inmate never actually gets to walk out of the facilities – making the djinn’s wish-granting a rather inaccurate affair. “There are rules,” insists the djinn, though there clearly are not.

“I can give you life everlasting, if you wish it …” The djinn’s scratchy voice and predilection for changing the subject into supporting characters’ desires are instantly funny, while the opening sequence features plenty of violence and gruesome special effects – which are the highlight of the “Wishmaster” series. The djinn’s makeup and costuming have also grown more elaborate. The dialogue, however, can’t help but to be comical, particularly as characters start making entreaties with common phrases that will surely have outrageous executions (such as when a criminal wishes for his lawyer to go fuck himself). Despite this being only the second film of the franchise (and a straight-to-video endeavor at that), outright comedy has already superseded the horror.

There are still jump scares and nightmare sequences, but the gore primarily embellishes the over-the-top humor of wishes gone awry (going so far as to break the fourth wall). Unfortunately, even with a few extremely creative, laugh-out-loud moments, the pacing is off, notably as the djinn remains locked up for far too long (“running out of customers,” as a Russian gangster infers). Having a never-ending supply of confined brutes to tease and torture isn’t nearly as interesting as having the villain and hero engage in a cat-and-mouse game; and even toward the finale, Morgana must still make three wishes before the djinn can conquer Earth. Plus, this protagonist is a crook (though a crook who takes plenty of showers, has a perpetually bared midriff, and lets the straps of her thong rise up over her hips and out of her shorts). Perhaps even less satisfying is her mid-movie makeover, which includes frequent praying, more modest clothing, and tears shed over her past transgressions. At least, by the end, the picture feels like a fitting piece to the series.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10