Monday, September 28, 2009

The Wisher (Canada, 2002)

Mary Ryan (a very skinny Liane Balaban) is a typical female high school dweebie who gets her sexual kicks from horror films (as she tells the school shrink at one point). But the films cause her to sleepwalk and have nasty nightmares (the best one of which opens the film). Forbidden by her choleric dad (Iain MacLean) to see any more nasty films, she sneaks off with her two best friends to the local multiplex to catch the latest, box-office-busting horror film, The Wisher and puke up her dinner — but not before she, in an obnoxious hissy fit, wishes her daddy would just go away.
Daddy catches on that she is at the multiplex, and in a fit of rage he hops in the car to go get her but dies in a car accident after he swerves to avoid a darkly clad figure. Soon Mary starts having the paranoid feeling that she is being followed by no one else than the Wisher, but since no one but her ever sees the killer goth Nightmare-on-Elm-Street fan with glass shards taped to his fingers everyone writes Mary’s hysteria off as sublimated guilt. She inadvertently makes two more wishes, and *POOF!*, Debbie (Siri Baruc) one of her only two friends loses her tongue and the hot, blonde, prick-teasing bitch of the school (Melissa “Token Tits” Repka) gets slashed. Scary!!! (Not.)
Even after she and her last remaining friend Kara (Andrea Runge) get confronted with the Wisher, they can’t convince anybody that the killer is real, so they have to stop him themselves. But how? With the killer playing “Knock-Knock” at their front door, they begin an illegal computer download of the popular film to find out how to kill the Wisher — but darn it! The computer crashes….
The Wisher really doesn’t really cut the mustard at all as a body-count film: More people die in an average PG adventure flick than this lame and bloodless PG-13 visual hemorrhoid. Hell, of the three victims, only one really dies, while it is never really make it clear if the token tits of the film actually dies from being slashed. (Oddly enough, the girl who loses her tongue but definitely survives must have not seen who did it to her, for she never confirms Mary's insistence that the Wisher is responsible.) But to simply complain that The Wisher isn’t really a body count film fails to tell the full truth about the film, which is that it's more or less an unwatchable piece of shit.
Perhaps the only true surprising aspect of The Wisher — aka Spliced — is that it isn’t an Alan Smithee film. But then, in all truth the flaws of the 2002 film are due less to Gavin Wilding’s direction than the hair-brained, underdeveloped and third-rate screenplay supplied by Ellen Cook. That she hasn’t yet had another screen credit is hardly surprising; what is surprising is that she even has this one. The Wisher belongs up next to Do You Wanna Know A Secret (2001/trailer) on the shelf of half-assed, totally misfired slashers.
Sorta a shame, actually, for the acting isn’t really all that bad — except, glaringly enough, for the films token heart-throb casting: Drew Lachey (formerly of the boy group 98 Degrees) as the lame romantic interest and (alongside the school shrink played by the late Ron Silver) main red herring. Lachey is an unconvincing high-school student (unless he failed about 10 times), but he is an even less convincing red herring since the true killer is so obvious that they might as well had him wearing a “I’m the killer” sign. (Much like the how one knew who the killer was in Mortuary [1983/groovy trailer that has nothing to do with the film] because he was the only character who listened to classical music, in The Wisher the musical taste of one minor character promptly stamps him as the killer.)
For a change at least most of the characters (aside from Lachey) are played by actors that sort of look like they might really be high-schoolers, but since when do high schools have their own indoor swimming pools? And do today’s high-school students really take fuck-breaks in deserted rooms? (In truth, they obviously do, going by this story. In any event, the sexless fuck-break scene is an advantage to the film for it supplies the mandatory tits of the film (seen left).) As for the downloading speed of a movie during the film’s climax, it goes beyond satire and straight to ludicrousness. And how the hell does the Wisher-dude beam himself about town so quickly, easily and anonymously? Why didn’t the girls just run over him with the car when they had the chance? (And who buys these kids such great, expensive hot rods?) And little symbols like the one representing The-Artist-Formally-Known-As-Prince are supposed to induce cinema viewers to puke and/or kill or see the same stupid movie over and over and over and over…?
The DVD, by the way, comes with an alternative ending that is just as stupid as the actual open-end ending.

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