Okay, while it is true that any movie that clears all the hurdles and actually gets made deserves props for it some flicks are just bad. Wishmaster 3 is not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, however just by the nature of the fact that the subtitle is Beyond the Gates of Hell and we don’t ever even make it beyond the gates of the campus our Buffy-esque coed cast is on, let alone anywhere near anything that could be visually misconstrued as the gates of hell (or beyond them and into what one would assume would be a vast and colorful landscape of pain and suffering for that matter), I feel the need to rub its face in it a bit. What follows is the transcription of my realtime reactions to the movie the first, and assuredly only time I will ever watch it.
Surprisingly enough WishMaster 3 (Note: I haven’t seen the first two – pretty much didn’t think I would be missing anything if I skipped them) starts out fairly innocuously. Our female lead isn’t glaringly bad in the acting department and despite some vaguely bad dramatic acting by her father in flashbacks that show us just how bad a driver he is – he flips the family station wagon and kills himself and Diana’s mother because he is not smart enough to know that driving while turned to talk to his daughter in the back seat is a no no – the tone the filmmakers work to establish isn’t too bad for a movie about what I’m guessing is a Satanic twist on the old “Rub the lamp and the Genii grants you three wishes” story archetype.
Let’s see, the “beautiful young co-ed” is here, as promised on the back of the box, along with her Johhny-Depp-in-Nightmare-On-Elm-Street boyfriend and a couple of other coeds who all look vaguely like people from Scream or Buffy. But wait, something’s missing. Of course! The professor character – British. All our ducks in a row now*.
Oh, now she’s found the blood red gem in the mysterious old artifact – didn’t see that coming.
Ah, a case of the old “Let’s celebrate your accomplishments by fucking” thing – University professors are all the same in bad movies!
Wow, the sounds of coital moans emitted through the Genii’s mouth are pretty disturbing.
Professor: “I wish for the two women I find most attractive to be here with me right at this moment”
Genii: “Done!” – Tits ensue, and then what’s this – oh! It must hurt to have someone bite your tongue out of your mouth!
I actually dig the music at about 25 minutes – minimalist. You wouldn’t expect that kind of restraint in a flick like this. Further shows that despite the obvious adherence to tropes, someone had a pretty decent understanding of tone. Well, tone and as we see again at 29 minutes, the marketability of tits.
32 Minutes: Oh, there goes the acting completely out the window. The romance angle here just sucks, but what the hell would I have expected, right?
35:00 Boy, they’re just going to insert this ‘wish’ power into every nook and cranny of the film, aren’t they?
38:00 Oh goody, the backstory gets to come directly out of the Genii-professor’s mouth, cross-cut with our heroine reading aloud ancient texts that seem to cut and paste their own ideas into pre-existing world myths. I usually like that kind of thing. Here I hate it.
40:00 There is absolutely nothing in this film that has happened thus far that warrants Diana’s raging paranoid fear. She knows what is going on because the writers know what is going on and they need her to know it too.
I still find it interesting they have a fairly decent (even if admittedly cheesy) tone going on here. Part of it seems to be the setting. Closed sets and dimmer lights can sometimes be a visual glue that eases the to a smaller budget flick.
55:00 Okay, the girl who dies by what I can only describe as auto anorexia is pretty fucking disgusting.
56:00 Oh! Please invoke Jesus, please invoke Jesus! All I can think of is how awesome it would be if a guy dressed as Jesus shows up with a sword and starts fighting with the Genni!!!
57:00 Nope, no ass-kickin’ Jesus. DAMN!!! Instead we get Archangel Michael.
101:00 Oh really? She literally wishes for him to break her heart? Come on people! Anyone who causally throws around the phrase, “Do you wish____” has to be an evil genii – get with it!
103:00 – Frat Party! Complete with two yahoos wasting beer by pouring it through a model skeleton’s mouth. I wish someone would kill them (where’s the wishmater now, eh?)
“The Sword of justice will be yours when you are ready,” – so the boyfriend’s body is currently in the possession of the Archangel Michael, who perhaps justifiably so is fairly catty to Diana because she woke up the genii. But then why does he try to keep her from harm?
107:00 The Genii sends the horndog friend’s boyfriend sailing through the air only to be impaled on the horn of a minotaur mask – words cannot even hope to describe how bad this scene was.
The narrative here is really only about the consistency of twine. Still, something about the – oh wait! Don’t look behind you Katie! Your boyfriend is impaled on an ancient relic! Told you so!
115:00 So is the girl – the best friend Katie – is her dying by rat swarm with her head stuck in a cage an allusion to George Orwell’s 1984? I wouldn’t have expected to find that here. Ahhh, but wait… eyes chewed out by cute little lab rats? That I definitely would have expected to find here.
I consider it kind of a flaw and a bad decision that the genii makeup is used so infrequently. I’m sure there were aspirations, both on the part of the filmmakers and the actor in all the makeup who plays the genii – to enter the character into the pantheon of iconic horror franchise characters a la Freddy, Jason, Pinhead, etc. Unfortunately, it’s hard to feel the same way about a character that spends so much time in the mundane visage of another character and not in his makeup. I’m sure it is difficult to maneuver in, but Doug Bradley does it as Pinhead, so ante up!
Another car Diana’s in flips. Oh, but this time, unlike her father failing to save her mother, Diana is able to save her boyfriend. Now we come full circle! (and you can tell someone’s been reading screenplay how to books).
124:00 Okay, so she can finally hold the sword because she proves she is willing to die to save the world. She stabs the genii, then falls off the roof with him, sails a few scant stories toward her death and then what, lives because she landed on top of him? And the boyfriend is still alive and free of the angel and …. Wait, I get it, this is the part where she’s going to finally say, yep – “I love you”
What does it say that I just watched this entire flick and still don’t have the slightest idea what the boyfriend’s name is?
I gotta give them props for getting this thing made in the face of what must have been some opposition but I definitely will not be seeking out parts 1&2 or any future entries into the Wishmaster series.
* And when the movie was over and I checked the Cast and Crew notes in the special features what did I find but the actor portraying the professor is none other than Jason Connery, son of Sean Connery.