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Wish Upon

Wish Upon: Timid, Tedious & Just Plain Un-Scary

  • Joey KingKi Hong Lee...
  • HorrorThriller
  • John R. Leonetti
reviewed by
Marija Djurovic
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Wish Upon: Timid, Tedious & Just Plain Un-Scary

While the idea behind fantasy-horror-thriller, Wish Upon, certainly has plenty of potential, the execution of the film and its general transition from pages of W.W. Jacob’s 1902 short story, The Monkey’s Paw, to the screen, is nothing short of dreadful.

Resting in the hands of Annabelle director, John R. Leonetti, the film revolves around Clare Shannon (King); a lonely and an unpopular seventeen-year-old girl who has been left in the care of her dumpster-diving father, Jonathan (Phillippe), after her mother killed herself when she was a little girl. Having witnessed her mother’s suicide first-hand, Clare is still affected by the loss and is now trying to make it through high-school; a place where the usual teenage dramas, such as bullying and unfulfilled romantic dreams, unfold.

Clare’s life soon changes when her father gifts her a mysterious Chinese music box he finds during one of his routine dumpster-treasure-hunting-dives. Intrigued by her new toy, Clare soon begins to piece together its origins, while absentmindedly wishing for a better life. Soon after, Clare’s version of a ‘better life’ soon comes to realisation thanks to the box’s special power, with the young teen initially unaware that for every wish she requests, the life of a loved one will be taken by a demon residing inside the box.  Enjoying a newly-found popularity, Clare is completely blinded by the deadly mess she is causing. When she reaches a point of no return, however, she ends up turning to classmate and friend Ryan Hui (Lee) for help.

After a relatively intriguing start, the movie quickly sinks into cheesy territory, where unlikable characters make incredibly stupid decisions. Trying to make most of the role, King is not an awful choice for a lead and the young actress definitely tries to do her character justice.

But the problem is that the character of Clare is not a particularly nice person which, as a result, makes it hard to get behind her choices and list of seemingly shallow wishes. Meanwhile, the violence is lukewarm; if done correctly, it could have been the film’s saving grace. But the murder scenes are edited clumsily, in order to avoid graphic detailing for its PG13 rating, which of course, only reduces the impact.
Finding itself at a loss in how to deliver anything that even remotely resembles a scare or a chill, Wish Upon is uninspired and messy. Delivering very little suspense and plenty of inadvertent laughs, everything around this film is made all the more peculiar given that the script was on the famous Hollywood Black List for most-liked unproduced screenplays back in 2015.

Like This? Try

Annabelle (2014), Wishing Stairs (2003), It Comes at Night (2017)

360 Tip

Young actress, Joey King, seems to have a thing for horror; since 2008, she's been in The Conjuring, Quarantine and Wish Upon and she's set to star in Slender Man next year.

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