I’m surprised since it usually takes two or three sequels before a movie series turns in to a spoof of itself. It only took “Wishmaster” one sequel before it basically becomes a parody of the first film’s premise. Even Andrew Divoff, who was menacing in the first film, mugs for the camera delivering dialogue in over the top inflections sounding a lot like a sinister impression of George Takei, for some reason. “Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies” tries to hide the fact that it’s about the same narrative as the first film by making the djinn the main character. Except this time he’s in prison– for some reason!
The circumstances involving the djinn being in prison are actually quite silly as he’s evoked during a botched museum robbery, and allows himself to be arrested, inexplicably. As a young thief named Morgana finds herself psychically linked to him, he begins wreaking havoc in prison, posing as an inmate and fulfilling the wishes of a ton of prisoners, all of whom lack variety. As Morgana changes her persona in an effort to fight the evil djinn (along with some tacked on religious themes), he begins concocting plans to steal souls and convince Morgana to make three wishes to allow his djinn buddies to come to Earth to rule, or something to that effect. I’m not sure yet if the djinn wants to rule the world, destroy the world, occupy the world, or just kind of lurk around and create some war.
And if all the djinns are evil is there a good equivalent to them? Who or what are their natural enemies? And can the djinn convince someone to wish he had free will? In either case, the sequel dodges a lot of the nasty budgetary issues by working its way around the effect heavy original and keeping a lot of the narrative’s new directions grounded. So rather than watching someone turn in to glass, we literally watch a man perform anal sex on himself. And to emphasize the comparisons to “Hellraiser,” there’s a massacre scene in the finale (Vegas, baby!) bearing a stunning similarity to the massacre in the disco in “Hell on Earth.”
Much of the sequel feels like filler in order to allow Divoff to take center stage, and for the writers to concoct some goofy wish scenarios. Where the first film seemed like they were trying to show the horrific rewards of wishing from the djinn, the script really stretches the idea far. One scene has a prisoner wishing to get “fucked up” only to be beaten by two fellow prisoners. And I’m not sure what they had planned when guard Tiny Lister wished to slow dance with the djinn, for one minute, “Compton style.” Thankfully the director cuts away before we find out. “Evil Never Dies” is an abysmal follow up to Robert Kurtzman’s somewhat serviceable original.