Directed by Clive Barker [Other horror films: Hellraiser (1987), Nightbreed (1990), Clive Barker’s Salomé & The Forbidden (1998)]
After wanting to see this for some time, I have to admit I’m a bit underwhelmed. The story was decent, but I felt this sort of missed the mark, and ultimately wasn’t quite what I was looking for.
Portions were certainly enjoyable, though, particularly the detective work in trying to solve the mysteries Harry (Scott Bakula) was facing. I think it was during these sequences where I was most engaged, and I feel the movie did far better with showing us the mystery as opposed to the overly supernatural, more ridiculous parts of the story.
Bakula made for a pretty good main character. I’m not that familiar with him, but I definitely liked him here. Famke Janssen (who I know best as Jean Grey from the X-Men movies) was decent, but I didn’t care that much for her character. Barry Del Sherman shined here, and was perhaps the stand-out performance of the film, as his character seemed almost inhuman every time he was on-screen. I also enjoyed both Joel Swetow and Lorin Stewart. Daniel von Bargen didn’t do it for me, though, and his over-the-top character was pretty meh. Related, Kevin J. O’Connor didn’t wow me either.
Honestly, Lord of Illusions reminded me a lot of Wishmaster, albeit with far worse special effects (seriously, the special effects here, even for the 1990’s, are mostly awful). I had a lot more fun with Wishmaster than I did this one, though, and I can’t put my tongue on exactly why I kept thinking of that flick while watching this.
It’s true that the film ran a bit long (it’s about an hour and 50 minutes), but even if it was cut down a bit, I get the sense it wouldn’t do that much to boost my entertainment. The gore, when it popped up, was decently solid, and again, I thought the story itself was interesting (and the middle portion of the film pretty great), but overall, while I’d probably watch this one again, it wouldn’t be high on the list.
I’ll say this for it, though: Lord of Illusions had some strong ambitions, and it definitely had potential (that spinning sword trick and the resulting suspense was top notch). It just wasn’t what I was hoping for. It may still be worth a watch, though, if you’ve passed it up in the past.