The Final Wish is another film in the long and well-trodden path warning to ‘be careful for what you wish for’ which has been mined for likes of Wishmaster and very much in the tradition of the Monkey’s Paw. As such it’s no surprise that there aren’t many surprises here. Nevertheless writers Jeffrey Reddick, William Halfon and Jonathon Doyle have tried to vary the tropes with a little success.

Opening with Lynette (Spencer Locke) returning home after a date to find her father has killed her mother and mutilated himself, we are promptly shunted to Chicago where Aaron Hammond (Michael Welch) is making a meal of his application to a law firm. Returning home he finds the locks to his apartment have been changed for non-payment of rent. On top of this he receives a call from his ex Lisa (Melissa Bolona) to return home; his father has died.

His return is not without its problems as his mother Kate (Lin Shaye) grief stricken castigates him for not taking much interest in them and the reunions with old pals aren’t that friendly. It’s case of local boy trying to better himself and returning to resentment, though not without some reason.

There’s the funeral after which Aaron arranges a yard sale to get rid of his father’s old stuff only for his mother to rage at him, having not asked permission. A strange urn takes his eye and at the same time he makes some wishes and he wins enough on a scratchcard to cover his Chicago debts, and he becomes more handsome.

There are costs. His cleft lip is fixed but only after he was mown down by a car driven by his old pal Ty (Jean Elie). There’s also the appearance of best friend Jeremy (Jonathan Daniel Brown) with an endless supply of weed. Intertwined in all this is Lisa who has been looking after Kate (who is spiralling downwards mentally), and is in an abusive relationship with Derek (Kaiwi Lyman) the school bully, now sheriff.

Very slowly things are pieced together, with visits to the library and a chat/warning from the ever-reliable Tony Todd, Aaron and Lisa find Lynette for answers which leads them to the inevitable confrontations and revelations.

It doesn’t take too long for the film to settle down into a rhythm albeit a gentle one and it just about keeps the attention as director Timothy Woodard Jr and the writers lob in some newish ideas. The realisation of the power of the urn, where it comes from and what it contains isn’t very original, however the small adjustments to the common lore of these things makes it a little more interesting.

The cast are solid though Lin Shaye is exemplary as Kate, struggling with her loss and the coming to terms it either by natural or supernatural means.

There isn’t that much in the way of tension and the horror and violence are perfunctory. It just struggles to muster up any real dread and it’s not until the last act that it comes into itself and is actually quite effective.

The Final Wish is available on Digital HD now.

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