The modern horror film has a lot to thank Blumhouse Pictures for. They have reinvigorated the genre with a slew of films, creating a good-looking and recognisable aesthetic, along with a low-budget style of old creaky houses, jump scares and clever editing. The downside of the re-emergence of the modern B-movie horror is the inevitable slew of also-rans. The Final Wish fits neatly into that category by not only aping the Blumhouse aesthetic but also stunt casting Insidious regular Lin Shaye and horror movie stalwart Tony Todd.
The film follows the worst week in the life of Aaron Hammond (Michael Welch), an out of work law graduate, behind with his rent, who finds out his father has just died. Upon his return to his hometown, Aaron realises that he’s not thought of too fondly. He swiftly falls out with his mother (Shaye), his ex-girlfriend (Melissa Bolona) and her local cop boyfriend, Derek (Kaiwi Lyman). Among his father’s belongings, Aaron finds a strangely intriguing urn and shortly after touching it, finds his luck suddenly changes. Of course, this is a horror film so things rarely go well for long. And with a demon involved, expect gore, deaths and no shortage of awkwardly signposted jump scares.
The biggest problem with The Final Wish is that from the title, the opening stinger, and the fairly early reveal of the mysterious urn, the audience is so far ahead of the characters that the film drags. Considering there are four Wishmaster films and the cautionary tale of the demon offering twisted wishes dates back to biblical times, this is well-trodden ground. This leaves the weight of the film to fall on the character work and acting. While Welch, Shaye and Todd all acquit themselves fine during the film, some of the other actors are less convincing. A shame, as some of the interpersonal relationships shown would genuinely make for an interesting character piece in other circumstances.
As such The Final Wish is, at best, an amusing curiosity and little more. It’s a film that moves in fits and starts and never delivers fully on its premise in either the gore or the scares, squandering some solid cinematography and decent actors on a meandering story with an awkward supernatural gimmick at the centre.
Available on VOD from Mon 25 May 2020