January 28, 2019 The Final Wish (Movie Review)
Let’s be honest: everyone dreams about having wishes granted in order to better their lives. That in mind, if faced with such a situation, would we make the right decisions? Would we consider the ramifications our wishes have on others? There is a price to pay for everything, and The Final Wish makes that extremely clear.
Featuring a production team that includes Jeffrey Reddick, creator of The Final Destination franchise, Patrick DePeters and Matthew Helderman, both of whom produced the Rob Zombie 2016 film 31, James Cullen Bressack, Thommy Hutson, among many others, The Final Wish has a payroll chalked full of talent. Additionally, Reddick penned the story, with Timothy Woodward Jr. (Traded 2016, Gangster Land 2017) acting as director, working with an impressive cast including Lin Shaye (There’s Something About Mary 1998, Insidious series), Michael Welch (Twilight 2008, Z Nation series), Tony Todd (Night of the Living Dead 1990, Candyman 1992), and Melissa Bolona (The Hurricane Heist 2017, Act of Violence 2018). So do all the parts come together for a quality Horror film experience?
Originally premiering at Screamfest Horror Film Festival in October of last year, The Final Wish was given a chance for further exposure on Thursday, January 24th, when Fathom Events and Cinedigm screened in movie theaters nationwide at 7:30 PM local time. A great opportunity for the film to strike more interest for an even broader theatrical release, if not a proper Blu-ray/DVD/Digital release, let us take a closer look.
The story follows a young man named Aaron, an aspiring lawyer who failed at landing a job after leaving his friends and family behind in his hometown. Somewhat self-absorbed, Aaron abandoned his small town life only to take on the big city, and because of his under achievements, perhaps is ashamed to ever return home. Facing his own failures, he receives a call that his father has passed away, thus ushering in his return home for the first time in a long time.
Upon his arrival Aaron is greeted by his distraught mother, Kate (Lin Shaye), who is less than enthused about seeing him after feeling all but abandoned. Aaron, faced with the reality of his choices, still remains selfish, rather than trying to comfort his mom. In fact, he opts to try and sell his father’s antique collection in order to come up with cash to pay his delinquent rent. Amidst it all, Aaron uncovers an urn which has a hidden, dark secret. Soon unlocking the urn’s mystery, Aaron proceeds to make wishes. Careless and self-serving, will Aaron reach enlightenment before his final wish?
First and foremost, not many Horror films have delved into the world of genies or jinns. Yes, there are The Wishmaster films, but after that, this sort of mythology in Horror cinema is few and far between. That in mind, The Final Wish is perhaps more introspective rather than focusing on a meanie genie.
What does this mean? Well, there is no question the urn has an evil lurking within, eager to grant Aaron’s seven wishes only to possess his soul for eternity thereafter. That in mind, Aaron is faced with some tough decisions – should he continue to make his wishes or find a way to reverse the damage done? In this way you witness Aaron undergo various changes in his character and perspective along his journey.
Very much centrally focused on the character of Aaron, his mother, along with old love interest Lisa (Melissa Bolona), are significant parts of who he is as well. With these three characters taking up much of the screentime and story development, it must be said that Welch as Aaron, Shaye as his mother, and Bolona as Lisa are rather exceptional.
Welch is believable, at times extremely emotional, and does a successful job of shifting the arch of Aaron’s character. Shaye, a veteran actress, brings her A-game as a very real mother figure who is heartbroken and angry. Meanwhile, Bolona’s Lisa is extremely likable and someone you sincerely hope no harm is bequeathed.
Which leads to the mood and atmosphere of The Final Wish: dark yet inviting, it is creepy enough to make you guess what is going to happen next. Although, if there were a critique of the film, it would be the pace: at times moving rather slow, it is important to stick with it to watch everything come together. However, the strong performances by the entire cast make the sluggish development of the story worthwhile.
A film that deserves even more exposure after the Fathom Events one-night theatrical screening, Cryptic Rock gives The Final Wish 3.5 out of 5 stars.