"Wishmaster 3" takes place on a college campus where Diane (A.J. Cook) attends classes with her boyfriend Greg (Tobias Mehler) and friends Katie (Louisette Geiss) and Billy (Aaron Smolinski). A.J. has serious problems, not the least of which is reconciling herself with the death of her parents. Then she worries about her relationship with Greg. She also works with an archeology professor named Joel Barash (Jason Connery) who acts strangely around her. Still, Cook's character is a good student giving serious consideration to graduate school when disaster strikes. While mucking around Barash's office, she spies a jeweled box with strange Arabic inscriptions on it. Diane manages to open the box, thus releasing the evil genie (John Novak). She doesn't know it at the time, but Barash soon discovers what she did when the genie confronts him. The magical creature dumps Joel's body in a coffin and then assumes his physical form. The viewer knows Barash is really the genie because he's constantly cracking his neck in what looks to be a very painful manner. Regrettably, the students don't know anything about the transformation.
The genie that is Barash now begins to seek out students and teachers who will ask him for wishes. The whole idea, apparently, is that the race of djinn (genies, essentially) will take over the world if this genie can get the person who released him, in this case Diane, to make three wishes. This is the overriding goal of the genie, so most of the film consists of Joel Barash trying to track down Diane. In the process, he has fun granting wishes to other people. Sadly, these poor victims don't realize that a wish must be expressed carefully and exactly or the genie will distort the request into something disastrous. Heck, these people don't even realize Joel Barash is a genie. He tricks them into wishing for something and then turns on them. When Diane finally figures out what is going on, she and her friends read up on genies in the school library. Who said college kids aren't smart? By learning about the weaknesses of these evil beings, Cook's character knows she must summon up the Archangel Michael to combat the genie. This angel brings with him a huge sword capable of sending the genie back where he came from. What follows consists of chase and battle scenes between Diane, the angel, and the genie.
I liked "Wishmaster 3" for what it was. The gore is good for a low budget sequel. We see a kid flying through the air and landing on some horns (don't ask), a wish for losing weight gone horribly wrong, and another wish concerning a broken heart that is equally gooey. The acting isn't too bad, with Connery and Cook doing the best job. "Wishmaster 3" even moves along at a breakneck pace, always a good thing for low budget movies. What doesn't work as well largely centers on the Archangel Michael, a character that just doesn't feel like a good fit in the film. He doesn't really do that much, either, since Diane is the one who must ultimately battle the genie. Another problem is one you need to pay attention if you wish (no pun intended) to see it. The whole movie takes place on a college campus during the semester yet we rarely see anyone around. Check out that car chase on campus-where are all the people? The characters might as well be roaring through a ghost town. The university I go to always has someone driving or walking around, even during the summer. Not at this university. Director Chris Angel probably had problems digging up enough students to provide background. Too, college students would probably yell, goof off, and create a general ruckus. But it is a noticeable problem.
Extras on the disc include a commentary from Angel, Jason Connery, John Novak, and Louisette Geiss, some storyboards, production notes, a short "making of" featurette, bios, and a trailer. Not bad for a low budget clunker, eh? "Wishmaster 4" isn't as good as this one, which, depending on your attitude probably isn't surprising. I really need to go back and watch the first two, I think, since horror franchises usually start with a bang before tapering off into banality. Yet, I liked this film in a way, and would definitely watch it again.
So if the plot stinks, the draw's gotta be either the acting (it isn't!), fabulous babes (not particularly), or most likely, the special effects. And these are just downright laughable. Anyone with the most rudamentary knowledge of how these things are done can tell immediately; but more importantly, nothing looks remotely real. When the Wishmaster, in his earthly form (which he dons most of the time so we're even cheated of seeing much of the Djinn!) is struck by a car and re-animates, the viewer can only giggle at how obvious and poorly done it is. And camerawork plays to this, too; cutting away suddenly when the tricky special effects should be used--such as when the Wishmaster regenerates his amputated hand from a glob of unconvincing red latex and goo to the actor's hand--no transition at all, but instead a camera cutaway and presto, it's a hand again.
Spare me, spare yourselves, make your wish to avoid this inane movie...