Monday, August 18, 2014

Franchise Review: Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell (2001)

I'm inclined to take back every bad thing I said about the previous two Wishmaster films. This third installment, Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell, changes things up a lot from what 1 and 2 established of the series and made it about ten times more boring and way less fun.

College student Diana Collins becomes the waker of the Djinn demon (why is the waker always a woman?) when she opens an artifact from Iran that holds the Stone of Secret Fire. The Djinn takes on the identity of Diana's professor and goes about killing and threatening her friends to force her to make her three wishes. Diana enlists the help of the archangel Michael, whose spirit takes over the body of her boyfriend Greg, to defeat the Djinn and save the world.

So they changed the story again for the third sequel, but they sort of revert it back to the simplicity of the first film. Thankfully, there's not as much time wasted on backstory, and actually more time spent on the main character, Diana, played by adorable AJ Cook. The movie becomes less about the Djinn and the horrible chaos he can create, and more about how Diana finds her inner strength to stop him. Or whatever. They give her some backstory about how she thinks she's responsible for the death of her parents in a car accident - but I honestly don't see how that relates to the story by the end. When the angel Michael is invoked, he brings with him the Sword of Justice (is that from a comic book or something?). Diana cannot hold the sword, which will kill the Djinn, until she is ready to sacrifice herself to save the world.

This element of the story didn't really bother me - what bothered me is that it came out of nowhere. One minute Diana and Greg are running from the Djinn, ending up in a church, and the next minute Diana is using her second wish to bring Michael. Whuh? Where did that come from? This story has never had a religious angle at all, and none of the research Diana does has her looking for religious help. So I'm not totally convinced on that plot point. The execution of Michael possessing Greg (although that's probably the wrong word) actually works well and doesn't come off as cheesy - I know, surprising, right?

This is a Wishmaster movie, so I was hoping that at least there would be some cool and gruesome wishes to look forward to. Not so much. Not so much at all. The only wish that is even remotely worth talking about is the girl who wants to lose weight and just sort of pukes up blood and fat and her stomach. Other than that, there's just some fire, an impaling, eaten by rats, and a heart that explodes - but they do that one the easy way by just showing a view of the heart from inside exploding, instead of doing a practical effect on the actress. And that's really all there is to talk about. So sad.

Everything about the Djinn is wrong in this movie. First, the look. The basic creature is still fairly the same as previous films but some subtle changes throw everything off for me. His color is a drab gray. The horn-like tendril things coming out of the top of his head are more prominent, and hang down loosely in a way that resembles a little girl's pigtails. His ears are still pretty big, but they must have made his head smaller in comparison because now they are all you look at when he's on screen. They are so ridiculous and distracting.

Secondly, the Djinn's voice is horrible. This is where I seriously miss Andrew Divoff, replaced as the Djinn by John Novak. Novak may be an actor and a voice actor, but his voice is so unbelievably wrong for the Djinn that I was actually quite taken aback when he first spoke. He doesn't sound remotely scary or as a demon with any kind of authority with a voice that is not even the usual deep, gravelly voice of a villain. Instead, his voice has a weird comical pitch which they try to make sound scarier by adding a reverb effect. It doesn't work. I cringed every time the Djinn opened his mouth and was happy that he used the professor's body and therefore his voice for most of the film.

Final verdict is that Wishmaster 3 blows. The biggest problem is that the tone of the film is way too serious. The overall sense of fun, the macabre joy that the Djinn had in what he did - it's all completely gone. I was bored and disappointed while watching it, not being able to laugh at anything that was happening. Only one more Wishmaster film to go. I don't have a good feeling.


  1. I'm astonished you though the boyfriend ending up possessed instead of her worked, honestly. Single stupidest moment in the film for me, and that's in a movie filled with stupid moments. How the heaven do you push someone out of the way of angelic possession? If anything ever should have unerring accuracy, an angel summoning is it!

    "And yea, verily, God sent the Archangel Michael to do battle with the forces of evil in the form of the one who called him and who could, as the summoner of the evil Djinni, slay him righteously...but Michael had not his new prescription glasses, and did not realize he ended up in the body of a useless sack of meat. But God looked upon the results, and saw that it, good enough. It'd probably work out okay, right?"

    I hate that moment. It's one of those that only exists because if the heroine's plan, which should work, actually works, the movie is over. So something has to go wrong, and apparently the only thing the writers could think of was..."Um, gee, I don't know, maybe Biff McDumbbells pushes her out of the just does."

    Seriously though...Boyfriend's heroic sacrifice actually is the only thing that saves the Djinni there, as she's the one who can kill him and is about to have super angel powers. So then for the rest of the film we get this bull about her having to be ready and willing to sacrifice herself to wield the sword...which she would have been wielding an hour ago because she'd been totally ready to sacrifice herself already. Yeah. Hated that bit so much.

    1. Alright calm down :). I didn't at all say that it wasn't completely retarded. I only meant that they did the stupid plot point, and to me, they actually managed to do it (acting-wise, dialogue-wise...) in a way that didn't completely piss me off with its stupidity. But I guess it had the opposite effect on you! Watching a lot of shitty movies has just made me more accommodating, maybe. :)

  2. The angel thing was odd and out of place- no doubt about it.

    The Djinn was evil, but it was never an ultimate good/ultimate evil scenario until this film. I guess it is less silly than having an Angel fight Freddy Kreuger or Jason Voorhees, although the latter does apparently escape from Hell at some point.

    I take real issues with the suit change too. It would be one thing if it was an all CG thing and they just couldn't make it look as good.

    All I can figure is that they couldn't use the suit...for some reason. Why? I'd like to know.

    Oh and you didn't mention Sean Connery's son Jason as the human form of the Djinn. That's random casting right there!