The Final Wish (2018)
Directed by: Timothy Woodward Jr.
Written by: Jeffrey Reddick, Jonathan Doyle, William Halfon
Starring: Jean Elie, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Kaiwi Lyman, Lin Shaye, Melissa Bolona, Michael Welch, Spencer Locke, Tony Todd
THE FINAL WISH (2020)
Directed by Timothy Woodward Jr.
Aaron Hammond, a struggling law graduate in Chicago, returns to his family home in the sticks after learning of his father’s death. Whilst attempting to sell some of his father’s antiques, he comes across an urn that he decides to keep in his bedroom during his stay. After several of his wishes come true, he suspects the urn may be responsible, but the more he wishes, the more he puts the lives of those he loves in jeopardy.
Described as Final Destination meets Wishmaster, THE FINAL WISH is a fresh, intimate take on making wishes with evil, a spin on the century-old short story, The Monkey’s Paw, by English author W. W. Jacobs. In this particular instance, lead character Aaron is completely unaware for the vast majority of the movie that his wishes are being granted, with him only saying the words “I wish” inadvertently, mostly as a figure of speech. Having returned to his grieving mother, who’s pretty embittered about losing her husband and is frustrated at her son’s sudden reappearance after his long absence away from the family home, Aaron is surrounded by an uneasy atmosphere. Failing to gain employment at a solicitors firm after passing the bar, he feels as though his time away and studies have been an utter failure. What’s more, his mother’s mood swings and his ex-girlfriend living with the woman-beating local douchebag, makes him feel everything around him is collapsing. The negativity surrounding Aaron is overwhelming but when strange things begin to happen, he realises not everything is an act of God…
THE FINAL WISH is pretty simple in its premise but executes its story rather effectively with Michael Welch taking the lead as down-on-his-luck Aaron. He’s a likeable character so you really empathise with him when you see him facing obstacles at every turn. He’s joined by horror stalwart, Lin Shaye, who puts in an amazing performance as Aaron’s mother. Her grief feels honest as her emotions are all over the place, both being grateful at the reappearance of her son but angered and saddened by the fact he’s never been in touch, not even when his father was sick. As we know from people losing their loved ones, grief can be a funny thing and she plays it wonderfully as she attempts to navigate life without her beloved. The way in which the relationship between mother and son is played out highlights the strain on the family bond and this only further pushes Aaron into a place of desperation and confusion, something which the evil inhabiting the urn takes great delight in exploiting.
I would say that the film is less Final Destination and more Wishmaster, however, there’s some neat nods to the popular film franchise when the malevolent power behind the wishes decides to take the dark route of making the wishes come true. Strategically placed items that work themselves free in a bid to cause fatal accidents is just one of them whilst FD franchise regular and another horror legend, Tony Todd, makes a brief appearance as an antique dealer friend of Aaron’s father. None of this is hardly surprising when you realise the writer behind this film is actually the writer of the first two Final Destination films.
What I admire most about this film is the feeling of dread that is created and lingers throughout. This is clearly down to the different departments involved in the making of the movie, even the opening credits with its beautifully orchestrated introduction. There’s some brilliant settings within the movie that are dressed to really amp up the fear factor, from the gothic, exaggerated decor in the Hammond family home to the peeling wallpaper in the mental institution. Every bit of it adds to overall uneasiness felt throughout the movie, as though everything outside of Aaron’s life is working against him.
Whilst it may not be as strong a film as those it’s likened to, there’s still plenty about THE FINAL WISH to enjoy, with the moral of the story certainly being be careful what you wish for!