Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999)

Given that’s directed by Jack Sholder, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that “Wishmaster 2” is as baffling as it is. Sholder is best known for directing “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge,” which is a movie that works in spite of his directorial choices instead of because of them, and that earlier movie’s rampant (and I mean rampant) homoeroticism is here as well. There’s a undercurrent of gay panic throughout the whole damn movie, which also just happens to be largely set in a prison (…), while lead Andrew Divoff flits around making leery come-ons to the prisoners and guards. Ultimately though, the fact that the movie is so baffling gradually becomes its saving grace: It’s impossible not to get swept along with the campy atmosphere of it all, but it’s also impossible to know whether the camp is intentional or not. All I know is that Divoff seems to be having a lot of fun again as the Djinn, likely even more so this time because he cranks up the Djinn’s flamboyance with a glint in his eye like he’s getting away with something, and it’s pretty charming and entertaining. So, fans of “so bad they’re good” movies should hunt for this one, it’s not exactly terrible but it’s definitely peculiar, and low-key fascinating because of it.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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