Tuesday, June 22, 2010
WISHMASTER (USA. 1997)
An evil wish granting Dijin (Andrew Divoff) is thrust into modern time and must force a diamond appraiser (The terrible Tammy Laurent) to make three wishes so he can TAKE OVER THE WORLD. Along the way he tricks a bunch of people into killing themselves with poorly worded wishes. Don't wish for awesome pecs! Trust me.
Every time I read that a SPECIAL EFFECTS creator is going to direct a movie I always hope there'll be tons of blood, monsters and crazy creative gags. Sadly, most of they try and make a 'real' film with stuff like 'acting' and 'characters' - BORING!
Not Robert Kurtzman.
He's the"K" in KNB EFFECTS (One of the leading effects companies working in film since the eighties ) and his second directorial efforts (Following the female Robocop riff THE DEMOLISANIST) has skeletons jumping out of their skin, stomach monsters and killer wood creatures IN THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES!
While the film can't keep up such a hectic creative pace for its entire running time, it does distract with a bevy of genre bit players in little roles (Ted Raimi! Robert Englund! Reggie Bannister!) and a monstrous lead performance from Andrew Divoff. The actual antagonist isn't stupid, which is refreshing, but she isn't interesting either. She just goes through the motions and the viewer waits for the next bit of nasty business to pop up.
As a Director, Kurtzman is merely adequate. He throws in a swoopy camera move now and then, but it feels right out of the 'wacky horror' textbook. Back on the effects side of things there's a lot of fun stuff going, but a whole lot of missed opportunities too. There's a lot of incredibly lame CGI at play where physical effects would have done a much better job.
With all the evident faults, WISHMASTER is still a breath of fresh air from a time when horror films didn't have to be covered in torture and still had some fun bones in their body without relying on parody.