Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell

My Wish That This Movie was Over After Ten Minutes Wasn’t Granted.

Main Cast: A.J. Cook & Jason Connery
Director: Chris Angel

While the original Wishmaster didn’t require a sequel, it somehow made money at the box office, which almost automatically guarantees another shot, even if it’s only direct-to-video (this was 1999 when people still rented videotapes). But you know what movie definitely didn’t need a sequel? Wishmaster 2. And yet, there it was, two years later, 2001’s Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell, a movie so tedious even Andrew Divoff wouldn’t return, instead handing over the reigns to John Novak, who had been bouncing around TV from “The Commish” to “Sliders” to “Highlander” to “First Wave”.

Then again, I’m not even sure the djinn in this movie is the supposed to be the same one as the previous two movies. Sure, he looks almost the same, except Novak’s djinn has much longer foam horns than Divoff’s, extending down to his chest like pigtails. This djinn is still captured inside a fire opal, just as Divoff’s was, but this time around, he’s freed by college student Diana Collins (A.J. Cook, Final Destination 2), who discovers the opal inside a puzzle box her teacher, Professor Barash (Jason Connery, Shanghai Noon) has been studying (I will note, we only saw him being recaptured in the opal at the end of the part 2, but we have no idea what happened to the stone after that, so it is entirely possible it was placed in this very easy to open box). It’s really Connery who gets most of the screen time when the djinn kills him and takes over his face, unlike Divoff in the first two movies who got to play both original and human forms of the villain. Novak’s version is very very underused here.

The premise is the same as the first movie, the djinn wants to find the person who freed him and grant them three wishes, upon the granting of wish number three, the gates of hell will open and the djinn will be released upon the earth. Meanwhile, the person who freed the djinn–in this case Diana–receives mental flashes of who and how the djinn is killing as it makes its way around campus, desperately in search of this one girl who, never during the course of the movie, leaves campus. And yet the djinn just never seems to track her down. You’d think a creature with such power would at the very least be able to find this one girl.

But whatever.

Alex Wright wrote the script, and as far as I can tell, this is the only thing I’ve ever heard of that he’s done. Certainly never heard of Dangerous Waters or Seance: The Summoning. His script for this movie was mind-numbing and full of holes with more flaws in the logic than I could even count. But that script was equaled in tediousness by the direction of Chris Angel (Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled) who in no way at all was out to make an exciting movie that held a viewer’s interest. It felt like he was trying to shove in every bad cliché he could think of, with one-liners that didn’t even make any sense (in one scene, Diana’s friend Katie wishes there were somewhere to hide only to look up and see the djinn standing there. He says as you wish, then picks her up and shoves her head into a rat cage, saying “No one will find you in here.” Then in the next scene, Diana finds Katie on the floor, with her lips and eyelids chewed off by the rats. Yeah, it’s a gruesome scene but what did it have to do with his “No one will find you in here” line? Nothing! I was expecting he’d turn her into a rat or something and put her in there so no one would ever find her. That would have made more sense AND gone more in line with the theme of the series, which is taking the wishes people utter and turning them around into something deadly), and whatever gratuitous, has-nothing-to-do-with-the-plot movie nonsense he could think of, like a sex scene between Katie and her boyfriend in the common room while another student watches TV on the other side of the room. That furthered the plot HOW?

It seems to me Wright and Angel were given some money to make a movie but after 4 days of no ideas, decided to just commission the costume, hire the actors, and wing it, hopefully coming out the other end with something that almost looked like a Wishmaster movie. Unfortunately, the previous two movies in the series were lame as well, so this one kind of fit right in. Film a transitional scene where Morgana from part 2 drops the stone inside the puzzle box, dub in Divoff’s cheesy accent for the djinn in costume scenes, and you’ve got yourself a true sequel.

Not that any of that would have resulted in a better movie. Wishmaster 3 is just dumb, there’s no way around it. It’s a bad movie. Part of me even wants to think it was SUPPOSED to be this bad, because you don’t make a movie like this thinking the entire time what a masterpiece you’ve got on your hands. In fact, I think as soon as you sign onto something like Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell, there’s no fooling yourself into believing you’re making art. And with a finished product like this, you’re definitely not fooling the audience.  Pass

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