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A college student unexpectedly finds that she has inherited a derelict house. Accompanied by a group of friends, she goes there to clear it of heir-looms before the structure is demolished. Almost immediately, she and her friends are targeted by a powerful warlock who is very interested in her bloodline. Written by
Not even Bruce Payne's presence could save this mess.
When it was released, I had been rooting for a third Warlock"-film; true the second part hadn't been a work of glory and couldn't live up to the classic first. True also, there was no Julian Sands, but it featured Bruce Payne. "Passenger 54", "Full Eclipse" and even "The Howling VI: Freaks" were all enriched by Payne's cold stare.
However, the problem with Payne is, he's essentially a limited actor, compensating any lack of skill with his (usually rather threatening and malevolent) presence. Actors like that usually need a very skilled director to point them to the right direction and obviously this director wasn't on the set of "Warlock III".
Payne's screen-time is largely wasted; this could have worked, had "Warlock III" been a sequel that has anything to do with the original. It doesn't. "Warlock III" is called Warlock only because it features a warlock. A wizard, magician, call it what you want. Nothing to do with the 'Super-Warlock' we came to love in "Warlock". There's no boiling of human fat for potion, no flying, no punching nails into the Warlocks footprints, etc; just a haunted house, a couple of cheap, computer-animated effects and Payne lingering around in a couple of scenes.
As to the rest of the cast: hopeful, young actors, each more unmemorable as the next; each having spent more time on bodybuilding and make-up than on acting, all trying to push their pretty faces against the camera in the (vein) hope of "making it big". You could have cast Sean Connery or Javier Bardem instead of Payne; it still wouldn't have saved the film from being a complete train wreck. (This trend would continue to this very day, with films (generally remakes) like "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or "Final Destination". It may sound like stickling here, but did films like "Friday the 13th" or "A Nightmare on Elmstreet" produce future stars like Johnny Depp and Kevin Bacon, or did they not?) What gives the film its deathblow is the camera-work, which reeks of cheapest video, just short of calling it "Blair Witch Project". Despite having a limited budget, the original "Warlock" looked grander than it was. "Warlock III", in comparison, looks like what it is: a cheap, shoddily put together flick, hoping to ride on the title of a classic.
A director like Steve Miner could have saved that mess, even despite the incredibly lame script. But as it is, the "Warlock III" virtually is beyond the hope for redemption. Two points from ten is all I'm willing to give: one for Bruce Payne and the other well, I can't really remember what for.
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