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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Review: The Final Wish

Director: Timothy Woodward Jr.
Screenplay: Jeffrey Reddick, William Halfon y Jonathan Doyle.
Year: 2019

The jinns or djinns are supernatural beings known since pre-Islamic times in the Arabic region. The first time I heard about jinns was in the movie “Wishmaster” from Robert Kurtzman in 1997, a movie that terrorized my childhood, where the jinn is an evil being that grant wishes and strengthens with every granted wish. For some reason, it was not until some time later that I realized the similarities between this jinn and the genie from “Aladdin”, an animated children movie from 1992. Both beings must grant three wishes to the one that awakens them to fulfill their objective, just that the genie of “Aladdin was seeking his freedom, while the jinn from “Wishmaster was looking to cross over the mortal world an army of jinns to wreak havoc.

In “The Final Wish” Aaron is a young man recently graduated from law school who is trying to land a job as a lower and try to stabilize his life. In this process, he receives the news about his dad passing and he decides to go to his mother’s house to help her. While looking through his recently deceased father he finds a mysterious urn that is more than what it looks like. When his wishes start coming true, Aaron starts thinking his life is falling in the right track, until he discovers the reason and the cost of his good fortune.

The concept of the jinn, like what “Wishmaster” and other movies did, can be easily adapted to horror films. “The Final Wish” is the most recent one to join this group. In “The Final Wish”, different to what happens in other movies, the jinn must grant seven wishes to who awakens it to fulfill its objective, which allows for a more prolonged interaction between the jinn and the human. This opportunity is wasted, as even when the jinn is always present, it rarely pressures Aaron, our protagonist and the jinn’s victim, into making wishes. I did like that on some occasions it uses trickery to achieve this, showing his power and intellectual superiority and leaving his victim in a position of frustration from impotency. Different to the genie in “Aladdin” or the jinn in “Wishmaster”, the objective of this jinn is to take the soul of its victim.

Even though the premise of the jinn is interesting, the screenplay does not make justice of it. A great deal of time is dedicated to knowing the problems of the protagonists, that even when they are important to understanding the motives for his wishes, is too extensive. The screenplay also results not being believable and the dialogues and situations often feel forced or incoherent, in some cases just to insert ideas that have little sense with the rest of the story and end up breaking the narration fluidity. The narration issues get worse when you know that the director Timothy Woodward Jr. (“Hickok”) and the writers Jeffrey Reddick (“Final Destination”), William Halfon y Jonathan Doyle, except for the last two are seasoned in cinema. The acting does not help much to the fluidity either, as most of the characters are overplayed and, in some cases, end up looking like characters in a comedy film. This is curious as most of the actors in this movie have acting experience. This movie has Michael Welch (“Twilight”) as the protagonist Aaron and Melissa Bolona (“The Hurricane Heist”) as Lisa, as well as horror movie legends as Lin Shaye (“Insidious”) and Tony Todd (“Candyman”). To me, only Todd delivered a convincing performance, but his participation is just a few minutes long, with bad dialogue and a situation without a lot of importance in the plot.

“The Final Wish” could have done much more with a premise so interesting, a good cast, and with an experienced director and writers. Only a few moments and the ending, that results being pleasantly unexpected, end up being enjoyable, while the rest of the movie just provokes indifference. The jump scares are fairly good, but most of them are irrelevant to the plot and the best are shown in the trailer, considerably reducing their effect and enjoyment. Principally it is the screenplay, with unnecessary situations and forced dialogs the main responsible for a weak story and prevent that the movie becomes a better experience.

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