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Review by
Mike Oliveri

Trimark Pictures
Ratings: Australia: R / UK:18 / USA:R

The lesson of this film is simple: when you inherit an old house with noisy plumbing, don't try to fix the pipes lest you release the imprisoned warlock bent on setting Satan loose on Earth.

WARLOCK III: THE END OF INNOCENCE is written by Eric Freiser and Bruce David Eisen (produced this film and THE DENTIST II) and directed by Freiser, neither of whom had any connection to the first two Warlock films. After watching this boring piece of crap, I could see why Julian Sands, despite a less-than-stellar career, did not sign on for this one.

The warlock this time around is played by Bruce Payne (HOWLING VI: THE FREAKS, NECRONOMICON). It's unclear whether or not he's the same warlock portrayed earlier by Sands, but if so, they never explain how he is captured and travels through time in the first film, yet in this film he is imprisoned in the catacombs of an old house for 350 years.

To complete his evil plan to conjure Satan, the warlock needs to sacrifice somebody with witch's blood. Enter our heroine, artist and college student Kris Miller, played by Ashley Laurence (HELLRAISER I, II, and III). Kris's ancestor, a good witch, imprisoned the warlock in the catacombs beneath his own home after saving her daughter from his sacrifices. She then purchased the house and time passes. Kris, an adopted child, is contacted by a historical society to come clear any belongings from the home before they take over.

So, off she goes. And not just to pick up a few odds and ends, but to spend the night. Her friends at first refuse to go, including her boyfriend. After we see a few prerequisite spooky moments, her friends suddenly show up in the middle of the night, having changed their minds. When one of them hears all the noise in the plumbing, he goes to fix a sink drain and a big black blob escapes. A short time later, the warlock is knocking on the door, posing as an architect interested in the house.

The twist this time around is that the warlock needs to be "given" the girl. In other words, all of her friends have to agree to let him take her.


Where the Hell did that come from?

Never mind that it's just plain stupid, but one friend, another witch that spots the warlock for what he is, is killed before she can give Kris up. So why should he waste his time? If he would have killed all of them and then went after her, he would have saved himself a lot of time and effort.

There's some other stupidity as well.
Ever notice how individuals that warn characters away from evil places are crazy, eccentric old people? For example, the nutty old chick in BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. "Ahh, she's just crazy," the characters say, and merrily get on the way to their fates. The same thing happens in this film: Kris almost runs over an old woman, who delivers a vague and cryptic warning in a suitably demented manner. I wonder if characters would listen any closer should the warnings be delivered by jovial bartenders or concerned policemen (I know I would. Whose gonna bother with a dingbat? They say all kinds of crazy crap! That's why they're dingbats! -feo).

The real historian visits Kris at the home, and the warlock, knowing the man has letters from the ancestor intended for Kris as a warning, abruptly kills the guy off. But it's not a simple killing, no. He rips the guy's throat out. In the span of a few seconds, he manages to get rid of the body. And if that weren't bad enough, despite a massive wound that include the shredding of both jugular veins, there is only ONE DROP of blood on the floor. Do these guys think we're stupid? When the body turns up later, it's nice and clean and neat then, too.

And just wait until you see the ending. Oh, brother. Not only is it stupid, but wait until you see "the real deal" with Kris that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. And you never do get to see the friends that probably survived. They've all conveniently disappeared.

Keep your eyes peeled and you'll catch some mistakes, too. Kris, lying in bed, reaches to turn out the lights. However, the studio technicians turn them off while her hand is still six inches from the switch. Once the lights go out she's in pitch darkness. Yet, three seconds later when we need to see her, there's moonlight conveniently streaming through a window. Several seconds later, it's a stormy night and we only see her in brief flashes of lightning.

Later on, when Kris is trapped behind a door, she takes a hammer to the doorknob. It comes off in one swing. Know why? There's no hole or latch beyond the knob. It was simply tacked to bare wood by the set builders. Whoops.

Again, WARLOCK III: THE END OF INNOCENCE is boring and the beginning is full of pointless scenes and actions. Laurence's acting is fair, Payne is a ham, and the rest are generic characters in stereotypical roles. Actress Angel Boris (EXIT) gives us the obligatory tit-shots as the friend that's into bondage. It barely earns one shriek girl.

This review copyright 1999 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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