During an attempted robbery of an art museum, Morgana accidentally unleashes the evil Djinn from the fire opal she attempted to steal. Released into the world once again, the Djinn starts to accumulate the wishes that he needs to become powerful and allow the rest of his kind to inherit the Earth. Deliberately getting himself incarcerated in prison, the Djinn quickly begins to harvest souls desperate for one wish.
1997’s Wishmaster was a creative and pacey horror flick made by a bunch of guys who had been around horror for a while and knew their stuff. Featuring a one-liner spouting supernatural villain in the mould of A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger, it was inevitable that a sequel would show up to really put the focus onto the evil genie. It was no surprise to see Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies go straight-to-video as well, more-or-less consigning the Djinn’s moment of fame as a potential breakthrough horror villain into the history books.
That may not be such a bad thing in all honesty as, like many of the big horror franchise sequels, too much focus is placed on the Djinn in Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies. He’s virtually the star attraction here, working his way through the prison with relative ease, dishing out wishing to people who clearly have no idea what they’re getting themselves in for. In many ways, this sequel just turns into a showcase for the Djinn and his wish-twisting abilities – there are far more set pieces involved in this one than the first film. Basically rehashing the story of the original, the film sees the Djinn freed by a woman who must then find a way to defeat him before making three wishes and letting loose all hell.
It’s a recycled story from the original but then the novelty of an evil genie quickly wears off once he starts getting people to make wishes virtually every scene that he’s in. Director Jack Sholder, most famous for helming A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, the first sequel to Wes Craven’s classic horror, gets the ‘honour’ to follow in Craven’s footsteps (Craven producer the original Wishmaster) once again by taking the reins here. But it appears that Sholder forgot to hire a script writer along the way and had to do it himself! It’s an appalling mess of horrible dialogue, terribly-written characters, pseudo-Christian sub-themes. Despite some attempts to turn the story into something fresh, it’s obviously a lesser man’s reworking of the original film.
The only returnee from the original is Andrew Divoff, back again as the Djinn. Divoff has got such a smarmy face that it’s hard to not want to punch it in this one as his mouthy character provokes people into making unfortunate wishes, all the while maintaining a smirk and sense of ‘you can’t touch this’ about him. Divoff saw sense and bailed for the following two sequels but he’s the main man here, almost the protagonist of the proceedings. You’d much rather see him tricking the inmates and watching the carnage that ensues than with Morgana and her efforts to find a way to stop him. He’s not exactly an anti-hero yet in the way that Freddy turn into with the later A Nightmare on Elm Street sequels but the intent is clear to see. He does have some very poor one-liners to spew, some of which will make you cringe.
Nothing will make you cringe like the rest of the cast though. The original sported the likes of Robert Englund and Tony Todd in small roles to really boost the star power. This has no such look. Holly Fields, as Morgana, is an awful leading lady without any presence or ability to emote. I won’t even bother breaking down the cast of characters in the prison. Safe to say that like all American film prisons, the ethnic diversity is ridiculously spot on – Russian mobsters, Asian martial artists, Latino thugs and even burly prison officers.
The make-up department earn their pay once again. Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies features some excellent practical effects, including the remarkable sequence in which the Djinn is resurrected at the start of the film. Perhaps the most painful-looking is the unlucky chap who wishes to walk through the doors of his prison cell, only to literally squash his way through the narrow gaps between bars. There are some silly moments though, including one lawyer who has sex with himself, and a daft scene in which a woman at a casino farts out a load of coins. They’re juvenile moments which hint at the daft direction in which someone could have taken the idea of wishes being twisted out of context – frat-boy style!
Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies has some decent moments but that’s all this film feels like – a collection of moments rather than a full blown narrative with them in. The story is bitty, the acting is pretty dire (with the exception of Divoff) and even the wishes seem to have lost their charm. It’s a fair timewaster if you were a massive fan of the original but other than that, it’s a no-brainer to see why this series quickly crashed and burned.