Wishmaster

**

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

In the spirit of goregush horror flicks, this Wes Craven production is highly creative in disembowelment techniques. John Hurt's tummy trouble (Alien) started something. Now all a fella has to do is look pale, gurgle a bit and Godzilla Jr bursts out of his chest.

The question remains whether the storyline justifies turning humans into monster pods. The answer for yuk fans is, why ask? The reason is the Djinn. "After the angels and before mankind" these shape-changing uglies ruled the swamp. Later, in the sixth centrury, Djinn power was encapsulated in a giant opal and embedded in the base of a stone Persian god.

Fast forward to the docks of a large American city, present day. The aforementioned idol is being unloaded from a ship when a crane driver lets it drop. The base of the statue smashes and the opal is stolen by a stevedore, who sells it to a second-hand dealer, who brings it to the auction house where Alex (Tammy Lauren), a gemologist, is asked to test its authenticity. During these high tech experiments, the Djinn (Andrew Divoff) is released.

The rules of the game are that if his liberator (Alex) is granted three wishes - the Djinn, being forerunner to the genie, can do anything the special effects meisters allow - the creature of the opal can go free and have his evil ways with the world. The fun, if that is the right word, is how wishes are interpreted. When the classy antique dealer (Robert Englund) professes, in passing, that he would love his cocktail party to make a splash, the Djinn obliges by creating an orgy of horrors that anyone left alive would never forget.

There are moments of genuine fear and others of intentional hilarity. Divoff warms to his role although Lauren doesn't have the personality to avoid those caught-in-the-headlights glances.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Wishes turn sour - and slasher-heavy - thanks to a demonic djinn.
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Director: Robert Kurtzman

Writer: Pierre David, Peter Atkins

Starring: Tammy Lauren, Andrew Divoff, Robert Englund

Year: 1997

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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