Wishmaster Written by Peter Atkins
There’s more going-on in Wishmaster than other criticisms might lead you to believe. For a start, there’s the central premise of a dark geni (“Djinn”), that grants any wishes, but with a horrific twist. This is something developed to its full extent in Wishmaster, as the Djinn socially manipulates its targets or obstacles into declaring a wish – literal or figurative – and then granting it. That’s its nature.
It even describes to one of its victims that it has ultimate power, but can only use it when asked to grant a wish. Thus, when someone wishes it would walk away, it finds itself doing so. When someone wishes they could see the Djinn’s attempt to “go through” them, they literally gets that wish granted. When someone wishes to remain beautiful forever, they’re moulded into a mannequin.
It’s a “concept film”, which takes a central idea and experiments with it – someone wishes the Djinn would kill itself, and it attempts to do so, but cannot, because evil is a permanent fixture in creation. But the attempt still “hurt like hell”. Of course, wishing the Djinn to kill itself is an unoriginal wish, and the Djinn boasts of its immortality. But it doesn’t figure that its prey could just wish it had never been freed from its gem in the first place.
Wishing the Djin to kill itself can be granted, with a cheap, dualist get-out clause that allows the Djinn to continue existing, but wishing it to have never been freed is the next step-down from that, and works because it isn’t technically “death”. It’s stuff like that – experimenting with the logistics of a Djinn’s existence, even if it does reset the narrative as a solution. Apparently there are three sequels. Not sure how they’re supposed to work.
But for ninety minutes, it does get you engaging with the central premise. The effects are funnier than intended, and the acting is also way-off the mark, but it’s fun to watch despicable people getting what they deserve in torturous way. It’s schlock, but fun schlock. Though hardly definitive.