Directed by Jack Sholder [Other horror films: Alone in the Dark (1982), A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985), The Hidden (1987), Natural Selection (1994), Arachnid (2001), 12 Days of Terror (2004)]
The first Wishmaster film is a pretty enjoyable affair. There were portions I didn’t care for, but overall, it’s a solid piece of 90’s horror. The second film, however, is nowhere near as pleasing.
In terms of special effects, there are occasionally some solid scenes presented here. But it’s no comparison to the first film’s beginning and ending sequence. In fact, a somewhat similar sequence here, which takes place in the final 15 minutes, is so much worse and uninspired than what they managed a few years prior.
The story itself isn’t much to speak of. Honestly, it’s not necessarily even that bad, it just didn’t appeal to me. The idea of having to possess a thousand souls before the Djinn can do anything more is all fine and well, but when he gains 800 of those souls in the course of five minutes, it really takes away from the film. I didn’t expect them to show him gaining hundreds of souls (which is good, because, for the most part, his obscene granting of obscure wishes never really did much for me, and here, very few of them are that interesting), but at the same time, giving him 80% of souls needed in such a short time felt akin to cheating.
Still not the biggest issue, though. I know his performance is what draws some people to this movie, but the Wishmaster himself, Andrew Divoff, just drives me up the wall. Throughout most of the film, he has that same little grin on his face, and his intentionally hammy acting, while in the first film wasn’t that big a deterrent, goes overboard here.
Luckily, the other two main performances were decent: Holly Fields and Paul Johansson. Fields had that cute bad-girl look to her, and having her partner up with Johansson’s priest character was somewhat fun. Neither one has had a particularly impressive horror resume (Fields was in Seedpeople, but that’s about it), but for a movie of this caliber, they do pretty well. It’s just a shame that the story isn’t that impressive.
Evil Never Dies still manages to impress some people, and having seen it twice, I don’t get it. Most everyone agrees it pales in comparison to the first movie, which is certainly true, but seeing a lot of value out of this movie, in itself? More power to you if you enjoyed this. I just wish I could have done the same. In short, it’s not that it’s a terrible movie. It’s just not particularly good or even that memorable, which is a shame, as Jack Sholder, the director, also made Alone in the Dark (1982) and the second A Nightmare on Elm Street film, both of which were decent, if not good. It’s a disappointment he couldn’t do that here.