The Final Wish
Review by Craig Draheim
Director: Timothy Woodward Jr.
Writer: Jeffrey Reddick, William Halfon, Jonathan Doyle
Starring: Lin Shaye, Michael Welch, Melissa Bolona
When his father dies, Aaron (Michael Welch) returns home after years away to help his mother (Lin Shaye). Soon he encounters an ancient urn that contains a Djinn, which grants any wish he asks, but of course it comes with a caveat. Created by some of the minds behind Final Destination, it is marketed as a combination of that and the cult favorite Wishmaster, and it can’t be described any better. The story is Wishmaster told through the plot points of a Final Destination movie down to Tony Todd, purely there for an exposition dump.
I have a special place in my heart for both of those series. They’re fun popcorn flicks, that have enough silliness where my non-horror-loving wife actually enjoys them. It could be a match made in heaven, and for many parts, when they’re allowing themselves to have fun with the ridiculousness of the plot, it is. The two leads (Welch and Shaye) do a great job with what a movie of that nature provides them, and there are some great effects. I can see the appeal and I want to be on the inside with those that really like it. The biggest issue comes from them trying so hard to make a “serious” horror movie, that it just sucks the life right out of something that could be a blast. Then again, the first Final Destination did the same thing, which is why the sequels embraced the silliness and pushed them to be more over-the-top.
The best way to describe the, “trying to make a serious horror movie,” is there are a slew of movies that make every building decrepit, every character look “off,” and so on. This ultimately desensitizes us as an audience, so when the scares come around, they don’t have the punch that they should. If you were to witness a horrible act in a dark, grimy alley it’d be scary, yes? But if you witness that same horrific act in a normal-looking house, that contrast can make it more impactful. This also translates to a major challenge for the characters. We are made to believe that Aaron is selfish, moving away to Chicago from his quaint hometown to pursue a bigger and better life. He hasn’t visited in years and rarely checks on his parents to the point that he didn’t even know his own father was fighting a disease for some time. Yet when he returns home and we witness how he’s treated by the community and even his own mother, which her grief is not enough of an excuse for what she says to him constantly throughout the movie, and not a surprise why he didn’t return. I sure wouldn’t.
In the end they threw every scary aesthetic imaginable at the wall in hopes that at least one would stick. Instead we are left with a story having multiple personalities and the viewer spending the time like a cheerleader for a losing team, rooting for them to turn around while the minutes went from double to single digits, then to seconds, then… BZZZZZZZ.
2 out of 5