Wishmaster is a 1997 American fantasy horror film directed by Robert Kurtzman. The film was executive produced by Wes Craven, and is the only film of the Wishmaster series with his name attached. Its plot concerns a djinn, a wish-granting, evil genie who is released from a jewel and seeks to capture the soul of the woman who discovered him, thereby opening a portal and freeing his fellow djinn to inhabit and enslave the Earth.
The film stars Andrew Divoff as The Djinn and Tammy Lauren.
The film was followed by three sequels, Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999), Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell (2001) and Wishmaster: The Prophecy Fulfilled (2002). The first and second movies are considered to be in the horror genre, while the third and fourth movies have less horror elements and are more associated with action and romance films.
A narrator explains that when "God breathed life into the universe…the light gave birth to Angels…the earth gave birth to man...the fire gave birth to the djinn, creatures condemned to dwell in the void between the worlds." If a person wakes a djinn they will receive three wishes, but the third wish will free legions of djinn on Earth. In 1127, the Djinn asks a Persian emperor to make his second wish. When the emperor wishes to see wonders, the Djinn uses his powers to torture and mutilate people in the palace. The emperor is horrified, but the Djinn tells him to use his third wish to set things right. Before the emperor can make his third wish, Zoroaster, a sorcerer, explains the consequences of the third wish and reveals a fire opal, which pulls the Djinn inside and traps him.
In present-day America, Raymond Beaumont supervises workers lowering a box containing an antique statue of Ahura Mazda onto a ship. The crane operator Mickey Torelli is drunk and drops the box, killing Beaumont's assistant Ed Finley and destroying the statue. A dockworker steals the fire opal from the rubble and pawns it. Eventually the jewel reaches Regal Auctioneers, where Nick Merritt instructs appraiser Alexandra "Alex" Amberson to examine it, which wakes the Djinn. Alex sees something inside the jewel and leaves it with her close friend and colleague, Josh Aickman, to analyze. As he is collecting data, the gem explodes, destroying the lab and releasing the Djinn. Josh, wounded, wishes for relief from his physical pain, and the Djinn "grants" his wish by killing him.
Alex, having been informed of Josh’s death by Lieutenant Nathanson, tracks the gem to the statue which she tracks to Beaumont, who sends Alex to visit Wendy Derleth, a folklore professor, who explains the history of the gem and the nature of the djinn: a djinn grants wishes in exchange for souls, but as djinns are demonic in nature, the wishes will be twisted into curses for the djinn's amusement. Later, Alex learns that the Djinn needs to power the gem with human souls and then grant her (the person who originally released him) three wishes before he can open the gateway to release his fellow djinn on Earth; meanwhile, the Djinn takes the form of a dead man and uses the name Nathaniel Demerest. He kills a pharmacist with the wish of a vengeful vagrant and grants sales clerk Ariella's wish for eternal beauty by turning her into a mannequin. Searching for Alex, he goes to Nathanson to gain her information. Nathanson refuses to help him, but the Djinn grants Nathanson’s wish to easily prove a criminal's guilt by having the criminal go on a shooting spree inside the police precinct, and in the chaos finds Alex's home address and leaves.
He next visits Nick, killing a security guard along the way by fusing him into stained glass (when the guard says he'd "like to see" the Djinn "go through me"). Nick facetiously agrees to help in exchange for a million dollars - which he receives when his mother takes out a life insurance policy and is killed the next day in a plane crash.
Alex sees troubling visions every time the Djinn grants wishes. She consults Derleth again, but soon realizes that she is talking to the Djinn, who has killed Derleth and taken her form. The Djinn confronts Alex and offers her three wishes. In the spirit of fair play, he offers her a "free" wish, just to see what will happen. She wishes for him to shoot himself, but he is immortal and the gunshot fails to harm him. Using the first of her three official wishes, Alex wishes to know what he is. The Djinn teleports her to his hellish world within the gem which terrifies her as he boasts his evil to her. She then wishes herself to escape back to her apartment, alone.
The Djinn had been threatening Alex's sister, Shannon, so Alex hurries to a party Beaumont invited them to earlier. The Djinn follows, again disguised as Nathaniel Demerest. Alex tells doorman Johnny Valentine to hold the Djinn, as he is trying to kill her; however, the Djinn manipulates Valentine into making a wish "to escape [his routine life]", allowing the Djinn to trap Valentine in a Chinese water torture cell, making his way into the party. The Djinn charms Beaumont, who wishes his party would be unforgettable, and thus the Djinn causes artwork to kill Beaumont, the guests, and the security guards called in to help. Eventually the Djinn corners the sisters and attempts to scare Alex into making her third wish by trapping Shannon in a burning painting.
Alex wishes that Torelli had not been drunk at work two days ago, which the Djinn is forced to grant, but this undoes the events that followed the destruction of the statue and traps the djinn in the fire opal again. The now sober Torelli lowers the crate with no problems. Alex visits Josh — now alive again — who notices that Alex seems pleased with herself, though she does not explain why. Inside the jewel on the statue of Ahura Mazda — now in Beaumont's private collection — the Djinn sits on a throne, waiting to be released.