The first film in the Wishmaster franchise was a pleasant surprise for me. I thought it was a well crafted, entertaining movie that seems to have a bit of a bad reputation. I also came away from it a little confused as to why the djinn hadn’t become a horror icon. My mind created a number of theories, turns out the answer is found in the second installment of the franchise, which just isn’t very good.
This movie has most of the same beats as the first one, it’s just not done as well. Once again the ancient djinn is set free in modern day America. This time it happens during an art heist. Through a series of events this film then turns into Wishmaster Goes To Prison. In prison he is able to quickly collect souls and begin planning to take over our world.
There are, of course, a number of creative kills based on the wishes of the victims and a scene near the end of the film that sees everything turn into utter chaos and mass death. The difference this time around, without the expert work of Robert Kurtzman the effects just don’t look very good.
The performances are fine. I was really impressed with the work that Andrew Divoff did in the first film. This time around he seemed more awkward. As the djinn’s human form, Nathaniel Demerest, Divoff was charming and charismatic with a touch of evil in Wishmaster. Here he is just strange and off putting with a goofy half smile on his face most of the time and an odd way of walking. In costume, as the djinn, he still shines as he clearly relishes that role. The only other member of the cast who stands out is Tommy Lister. He is always a pleasure to see on-screen. He’s not really stretching himself in anyway by playing a prison guard but he is fun to watch.
Wishmaster 2 had a couple of things working against it. The first was my possibly over inflated expectations after enjoying the first one so much. The second is that sequels, as a general rule, just aren’t as good. As the film unfolded in front of me though I couldn’t help but feel like someone decided to just make another version of the first one minus all of the care that went into it. As a result we get a similar movie that just doesn’t have any of the life that the original did. As we continue on through the Wishmaster franchise, I am much less excited about watching the third film than I was going into this one.