Wish Upon Review: I Wish I Had Those 90-Minutes Back
Every year there seems to be some trend during the summer movie season. Let’s call it, “The Final Destination Effect.” This is when a horror film comes out, seemingly under the radar, in the midst of the blockbusters and explosions throughout summer, that is utterly terrible and forgettable. Remember that movie last year called The Disappointments Room? Yeah, neither do we. Here we are again, year after year reviewing another 90-minute made for basic cable movie that will be removed from your memory faster than you can say “I wish.”
From the director of the critically panned Annabelle, we are treated to his follow-up, Wish Upon. Wish Upon centers around Claire, (Joey King) a bullied in high-school teenager, who also found her mother hung dead 12-years earlier. Naturally, Claire has a rough around the edges father, Jonathan, who scavenges dumpsters for items to sell, played by the un-charmingly stoic, Ryan Philippe. In the midst of rummaging, Jonathan finds a carved box covered with Chinese characters.
Coincidentally, Claire is learning Chinese at school, so her father decided to give her this mystery box. The box says that whoever opens it is granted seven wishes, making “anything possible.” The rest is not exactly “so bad it’s good” cliched nonsense, but it comes pretty damn close.
Since this is a high-school horror flick, you can almost predict the absurdity of said wishes. The first of which being that Claire wishes that her arch nemesis and most popular girl in school, Darcie to “just go and rot.” The next morning, Darcie wakes up with a flesh eating disease, consuming her body with blackened flesh. From this point forward, Wish Upon becomes a mishmash of horror standards that combines the elements of all previously forgotten films before it, and adds in a McGuffin in the form of a wishing box.
The bright spot of this overall forgettable folly is Joey King, who honestly is quite good in the role of Claire. Don’t get me wrong, she is unlikeable to a fault, and makes so many terrible decisions throughout the story. However, I believe that is the whole purpose of her story. Becoming the thing you hate the most while being consumed (or cursed) with power. Her two best friends, June and Meredith (Shannon Purser and Sydney Park) are the best parts of Wish Upon without question.
They don’t put up with Claire’s nonsense attempting to bring her back to reality, without ever showing sympathy. For all of the movie’s flaws, having two genuinely well-written characters that are teenage girls is no easy task. I am not sure where script writer Barbara Marshall head was at during the writing stages for Wish Upon, but she did something right with these two likable characters.
In the end, Wish Upon is another Final Destination rip-off, with a splash of The Box and Shazam for good measure. The PG-13 rating disservices the genre, the film has no real target audience, and I don’t expect to be seeing Wish Upon staying at the multiplex for too long.
Wish Upon opens on July 14th, 2017