'The Final Wish' (2019) Movie Review
I Wished A Little Wish…
The Final Wish, or as I’ll be referring to it as Wish Upon 2, is a little horror movie that came out of nowhere. At least that’s the case for me, apparently receiving a premiere at last year’s Screamfest horror film festival and quietly being officially released in horror’s dumping ground of January. I have not heard of this movie before in my life, I haven’t seen a single shred of advertising done for it anywhere, yet it has big name horror actors attached such as Lin Shaye and Tony Todd. Also it is from the writer, or as every movie poster ever with this man involved says, “from the creator” of the first Final Destination movie. And stars the kid who played Niles Crane in an episode of Frasier once… random. Going into the movie, I had no clue what it was about and avoided seeking out a trailer, I went in completely blind. Now having seen the movie all I can say is, “that was certainly a January horror movie written by the writer of Final Destination”. And I kind of wished I had just re-watched Wish Upon instead, that movie was hilarious, this movie was funny sometimes but nowhere near on the levels of ‘stupid’ as Wish Upon. The Final Wish is simply an amateur attempt at horror that failed.
Aaron (Michael Welch) is a struggling young lawyer trying to find a firm that will take him in (no worries, that plot thread goes nowhere). One night, Aaron gets a call with the news that his father has passed away, resulting in him returning home for the first time in many years for his father’s funeral and to hopefully patch up his relationship with his mother (Lin Shaye) as he helps her out. During his stay, Aaron finds a small urn that might actually be granting him wishes… but at what price?! Dun dun dun!
Where Do I Start?
I seriously am having a difficult time starting on how to discuss this film because on one hand, it is very inept on several levels, but on the other hand this is nothing I haven’t already seen a hundred times come out of January. This isn’t even the worst horror movie I’ve seen released from that specific month from previous years. Hell, this isn’t even the worst movie I’ve seen this year so far. But it still sucked because it really has no clue how to create any sort of tension within a scene. There are things in the script that happen in this movie, that with a better director, I can see working. But that didn’t happen here. For the most part, the movie had three different modes; unintentionally hilarious, boringly mediocre, and oddly confusing.
Okay, okay, okay. I’ll try to focus a little bit. To start out, honestly, the first five to ten minutes or so were actually okay. Nothing great, there was always something a little bit off, but I was along for the ride a little bit. But then the editing continually got stranger and stranger. Focusing on odd moments or shots that made no actual sense why they were there or why we were forced to stare at a donut over and over again in one scene. It was just off and it continued to maintain those odd edits into the entirety of the rest of the film.
Anyways, once the Aaron character makes his way back home to support his grieving mother, the tone got rather bipolar. One second the mother and son would be arguing, the next they would start to get along only for one of them to set off the other to argue some more. Then in between the arguments Aaron has with his mother, he has more mini-arguments with his old hometown romantic flame as she gives him flack for being out of the picture while his mom needed help. The Aaron character gradually became more unlikable as the film went along, such as trying to sell all of his father’s possessions without his mother’s consent or even knowledge the day after his funeral. Just so he could turn in a profit for himself, not even trying to really help his mother out in any way. He wasn’t even trying to sell these items in any smart or dignified way either, he just threw all of these seemingly expensive antiques into a cheap little yard sale. Brilliant!
After his mom rightfully b*tches him out for being an ass, he tries to sell an urn online behind her back next. However, after he fails at selling this urn, that’s when things start getting ah-spooky! Aaron’s childhood best friend, Jeremy, shows up out of nowhere to hang out with him and immediately we can tell where this is going because subtlety is completely overrated. Jeremy (Jonathan Daniel Brown) right out the gate is acting strange, his introduction shot represents him as a shadowy figure, the editing constantly makes it to where he appears and disappears out of nowhere, no one else other than Aaron is even acknowledging his presence… gee… I do wonder where this might be leading to… Oh, turns out Jeremy died a year ago in a terrible car accident. If Jeremy is dead… then who has Aaron been talking to this whole time?! Dun dun… not even worth that third ‘dun’.
Death Wish 1
Anyways, I’m getting ahead of myself. As the story progresses, Aaron’s dialog starts becoming somewhat forced just so he can finally say the words “I wish” randomly. Then it turns out that his wishes start coming true. Even though, sometimes it makes no sense as to how they actually work. For instance, Aaron’s first wish is that he just wants three thousand dollars to pay off his late rent. Later that night he finds himself at a gas station and he buys a scratch-off lotto ticket, turned out to be a bust. So as he walks out, a random guy dressed up as a clown awkwardly stares him down for a moment only to talk up to the confused cashier to ask for a “pack of smokes”. Somehow inspiring Aaron to turn around and buy a second scratch-off ticket, winning himself five thousand dollars… okay then. And in case anyone is wondering, this never comes back to being mentioned in anyway, nor does it have any sort of consequences for our lead. It’s just a thing that happens and we move on from there.
Death Wish 2: Death Wish Harder
Aaron’s second wish that night is for the neighbor’s dog to “shut up”. Apparently that means for the ‘Wishmaster’ to gut the poor thing. For no reason, other than it’s a horror movie with a dog and that means the dog is basically living off of borrowed time. That’s a cliché I’m honestly getting pretty sick of. I really am. Any time I see an animal, mainly dogs, in a horror film I am basically counting down to when the movie is going to kill it off. There are movies that I like that still do that cliché, sometimes it can even work in the narrative, but for the most part I’m over it at this point. It’s cheap, it’s predictable, it’s cynical, and it’s irritating. Stop it, horror movies. Stop it. Bad, bad, bad.
Death Wish 3: Death Wish with a Vengeance
Moving on, the third wish is that Aaron wants to be better looking. That’s when a car at full speed hits him while crossing the street. Admittedly that did kind of catch me off guard, sort of. I had joked in my head immediately after the character said, “I wish I was better looking”, basically thinking it would be funny if a car just randomly hit him. But then a car just randomly hit him right then and there. Huh. What do ya know?! Apparently a car hitting someone is magic and does wonders for the face since this accident somehow causes the scar on Aaron’s upper lip to vanish and he doesn’t even come out of the hospital with any new scars. I really need to run into traffic sometime, I’ll finally take care of the scar on my forehead!
Death Wish 4: Live Free and Death Wish Hard
Once Aaron discovered the magic formula to handsome is underneath a 1994 Ford Taurus, he spends a week in the hospital. A whole week has apparently gone by, according to a quick throwaway line, and his mother did not visit him once. Not once. Not even any of his other friends or his love interest for that matter, that whole time in the hospital he had one friend visit him and that’s only because he was the one that hit him with his car. Wow. Which, the funny thing is that we never see Lin Shaye away from the house even once in this movie. Making it pretty clear that the filmmakers probably had an extremely limited amount of time they could afford her to be in the picture so they probably shot all of her scenes in the course of a few days while on location. That is how it comes across to me anyways. After this week in the hospital that his mother seemingly gave zero sh*ts about, he comes back home to make his third wish. Saying that he wishes there was something he could do in order to make his mom happy again. Brushing passed the mandatory jump-scare dream sequence, that’s when Lin Shaye’s acting gets a wee-bit batty. I mean, this woman popped a few before her takes in front of the camera and she goes pretty crazy. And this is something that I meant earlier about how on paper this might work, but only with decent direction, in this when she acts crazy it is so sporadic and bipolar that I can’t help but laugh. It’s so campy and ridiculous as I’m watching Lin Shaye switch back and forth between over-the-top chipper into deranged anger within a split second. It’s an idea that could be scary, but it flops flat on its face in the execution.
The Many Crazy Faces of Lin ShayeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Because of his fourth wish, I guess that meant that magic brought back his dead father so Lin Shaye can dance with zombie dad in the barn? Sure. That gets Aaron to thinking that maybe the whole ‘wishes coming true’ thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. So he runs over to Jeremy’s house to discover the foreshadowing’s unveiling that he’s been dead all along and some demon has taken his form. Also, somehow Aaron just knows that the urn is at the center of everything going on. Really there’s no reason as to why or how he figures it out, it’s not as though he holds the urn at any point to make the wishes or anything like that. The urn sits on a mantle for the entire runtime, doing nothing other than being an urn, the only reason we as the audience know that it is the culprit of all things evil is because the editing keeps throwing in ‘creepy’ shots of it occasionally. That’s it. Ooh ah-spooky?
The Candyman Can…Click thumbnail to view full-size
Any-who, dead daddy got Aaron and his love puppet to begin investigating the urn to bring them to the Tony Todd cameo explaining the evil haunted history of the urn, with special guest appearance by an unknown actress as a librarian in extremely awkward editing inserts. That was odd. But that leads our Scooby gang to the previous family who owned the urn telling them through generic scene involving old crazy person explaining more about how the demon is after his wishes and making seven wishes will mean the possession of his soul! At this point, it seriously feels like I’m watching 2014’s Ouija again, only if Lin Shaye wasn’t the crazy exposition bot in an insane asylum.
I Forgot Something, Making A U-Turn!
Wait, hold on. I forgot about the horrendously awkwardly wedged in death scene that took place right in between the Tony Todd segment and the insane asylum exposition. The neighbor guy, who has beef with Aaron because he thinks that Aaron killed his dog eariler, is randomly killed for no reason at all in the middle of this rain storm that erupts out of nowhere. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it. I have no clue where the f*ck this neighbor guy even lives. Aaron’s mom’s house is completely secluded, yet this guy seems to just appear out of the blue two or three times, one of which in the middle of this storm and the wind pushes him over onto a log laying on the ground where he hits his head. No worries, he’s alive. But then the wind breaks off a branch from the tree that falls to impale him. This is clearly where the writer of Final Destination took over to create the laziest death scene. Seriously, this guy was in the picture all of three times. Once in the first act for maybe thirty seconds, once in the second act after he discovers his dead dog in front of Aaron’s house, and once to get killed off. That was the only reason he was in the movie. To die because we needed something to bump up the pace. All of his scenes could easily have been cut too without any cleanup necessary. If someone were to cut out every one of the neighbor’s scenes, there would be nothing missing. It’s like the dude doesn’t even exist outside of the scenes that he is present. Not even after he dies is he ever mentioned again or creates any sort of turn in the narrative. He provided nothing at all, other than the writer had five minutes to create a death scene to keep the younger audience’s attention because the filmmakers think they’re stupid.
Death Wish 5: A Good Day to Death Wish
I’m running out of steam and I’ve been b*tching for a while so I’m going to just steamroll through the third act. Absurd and silly things keep happening; Lin Shaye hangs herself because her corpse husband stood her up on a date. Aaron contemplating suicide, but wimps out. The demon shows up to taunt Aaron and he makes a stupid decision with making another dumb wish that only results in his friend, love interest, and Love Interest’s husband dying. Oh by the way, Love Interest is married to an abusive husband. Not important. Aaron being completely traumatized with one wish left, he wishes that the car accident from earlier that made him handsome actually killed him instead. So the movie cuts back to him on the road, dead. Cut to Aaron waking up in bed and looking in the mirror to realize that he’s actually trapped inside of the mirror. Cut to black. Film wakes back up from its five second nap to show Lin Shaye and Love Interest being happier than ever now that Aaron is dead. For some reason, Love Interest (I don’t remember her name and I don’t care, this is her name now) is moving to where Aaron was living before he came back home. I guess she doesn’t have to take care of Lin Shaye anymore even though she was established as her main caretaker. Whatever. Lin Shaye hands Love the evil urn for a good dose of sequel baiting. That’ll never happen. Cut to credits.
What Is There Really To Say?
Honestly, what is there to say about this? This is a low budget horror film made to make a quick buck with no thought or effort actually put into it. But it’s the thousandth one of its kind. I can’t even get mad at that anymore. I’ve seen so many like this, especially released in January, that I just can’t even keep up the energy to crap on it anymore. It’s another Wish Upon, Rings, The Forest, Ouija, Disappointment’s Room, Insidious 4, the Flatliners remake, The Darkness, The Possession, Sinister 2; it’s all of those just repackaged in an even cheaper wrapping. That’s it. Visually speaking, it looks fine. Whoever worked the lighting of the film seemed to know what they were doing, but sometimes it seemed like the cinematographer was lazy with a handful of shots with only the most basic of compositions being filmed. There are times when I’m not even sure people are actually standing in the same room at the same time because it cuts back and forth between two people talking and it only has a single person in each shot. Almost like they couldn’t get all the actors on set at the same time so they had to improvise. The scares were either lame jump scares or the movie trying too hard and failing. It did make me laugh and the effects work was fine, with the exception of the CGI blood, so I guess I’ll give The Final Wish that. Even though it was unintentional with the hilarity department. The movie is mainly forgettable. That’s it. There’s not a whole lot I have to say on it. It’s cheap, generic, incompetent, and forgettable. I will have forgotten this entire movie by the end of this week, I guarantee.
So if you’re looking for a good spooky time, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a hilariously bad horror movie with the same premise, this still doesn’t beat Wish Upon. Go watch Wish Upon if that’s what you’re looking for, that was the best unintentional comedy of that year. Or Wishmaster, that had Tony Todd in it. Can’t remember if it’s good, but at least it’s something compared to this ‘nothing’ of a movie. Or watch a better Lin Shaye horror movie like any of the first three Insidious flicks, or hell, go back and watch the original Nightmare on Elm Street with her brief cameo in it. Skip The Final Wish, it really isn’t worth anyone’s time. It’s not terrible, if someone were to come across it I doubt they’d hate it, but I also doubt it’d leave much of a lasting impression either. Spend your time on this Earth wisely and watch the Death Wish movies. No, they’re not horror movies, but Charles Bronson is awesome so why not?
That’s All Folks…
That wraps up today’s movie rant? Did you like or dislike my review? Agree or disagree? Miss having Frasier on the air? Comment down below and let me know! And if you did so happen to enjoy this article then please do me a little favor and share this around the social media world. Thank you all so much for reading and have yourselves a wisherific day! …..one day I’ll come up with a decent last line.
Questions & Answers
Did you learn anything from this movie and if so, what was it?
Hmm, an interesting question for a movie that is interesting to ask that question about haha I would say if any lessons were learned, it's that Lin Shaye and Tony Todd are treasures that do their absolute best to entertain. Even in messes like this. But I already knew to go in that they're always on their game to entertain. I suppose after reviewing 'The Final Wish', I learned that there was significant public interest in the movie as my review has garnered a significant number of views over time. So, if anything, I learned that no matter how obscure a film may be, there will always be an audience in search of it if it contains the right ingredients of intrigue. Other than that, I learned that the kid who played a younger version of Niles from the TV show 'Frasier' is still acting and the writer of 'Final Destination' is also still in work... good for them!
© 2019 John Plocar