The Wisher

Starring: Ron Silver, Liane Balaban and Drew Lachey
Mosaic Entertainment

Certificate: 18
Available now

Mary is a slightly dysfunctional highschool student who is plagued by bad dreams and repetitive sleepwalking. She has a need to be scared, and films and the Internet no longer satisfy her craving. Understandably, her parents are upset and angry when she decides to see a popular horror film with her friends. Falling ill halfway through The Wisher, she fails to see the conclusion. This information proves essential when she is stalked by a figure resembling the perpetrator in the film. Although she initially fails to make the connection, Mary's wishes are being granted in the most gristly fashion...

Firstly, let me send you in completely the wrong direction by stating this has every cliché in the book. The key character is a 'plain Jane', nobody believes what she sees, the boy admired from afar is thought to be the villain, there's a bitchy rival who makes fun of her, and a geeky male friend. Several scenes appear to blatantly stolen from other well-known movies. The now-you-see-me-now-you-don't moments from Halloween. Running frantically around locking the doors, and the good-bad-good boyfriend, both from Scream. The attack in a darkened pool room, from several teen flicks. Then there's the wishing scenario.

The Wishmaster franchise has unbelievably run to several movies now without ever justifying its return. This idea of demons and the seduction of wishes extends back into fable and folklore, and has formed the crux of many modern jokes not to be repeated here. The Wisher himself utilises gloves containing blades of glass as weaponry; I defy you not to think of this as a variation on Freddy Krueger and Edward Scissorhands.

Have I completely convinced you this movie is clichéd, mindless pap? I hope not, because for some indefinable reason it works. The performances are solid, if not award-winning, the figure of the Wisher is seen only fleetingly until right at the end. You never know for the length of the movie if the character is human or supernatural (rather like Jeepers Creepers, although not in the same class), but plenty of suspects are put forward. Rather than a good script badly realised, this is an average story well told. Yes, it's easy to pull apart, but it's extremely watchable as a whole. The idea of subliminal images in the film the characters go to see isn't exploited enough, though. Is this the real reason for what is happening? And if so, who is responsible?

So long as you disengage your logic circuits prior to viewing, and avoid the cringeworthy and totally superfluous epilogue which hints at the reoccurrence of events, this film will be enjoyed with the company of a six-pack.

Ty Power