One’s own selflessness can lead to their demise. That’s the basis for the new horror film titled Wish Upon in which a young girl gets hold of a box that can grant you seven wishes, only when one messes with fate, the consequences can be dire. The script by Barbra Marshall (Viral) does offer some unique ideas even though the story itself is without a doubt inspired by the 1902 short story by W.W. Jacob’s The Monkey’s Paw and offers very little scares. Director John R. Leonetti (Annabelle) makes a decent film, but it does lack any sense of fear and instead makes the audience chuckle at times.
The film stars Joey King (White House Down) as Clare, a girl who isn’t popular at school and is picked on by others. She finds her life frustrating as her dad (Ryan Phillippe) spends his time recovering items in dumpsters to collect in his home and when Clare was a child, she witnessed her mother’s suicide. We can identify with Clare as she is bullied in school and wants things to change for the better. One day while digging through garbage cans, Clare’s father uncovers a box that has Chinese symbols written all over it. He brings it home and gives it to his daughter and she can understand a little of the writing since she’s taking Chinese in school. The box will grant seven wishes and although some of the writing she can’t understand, Clare proceeds to wish away.
What Clare doesn’t realize is that for every wish one makes, a blood price will be made. Someone will die so that her wish will come true. Sure enough, the body count starts to climb and some of the death scenes are reminiscent of the Final Destination franchise. One scene in particular shows a man climbing into a bathtub, slipping and hitting the base of his skull, thereby causing him to bleed out. He then wakes up in a state of shock and smashes his head into the faucet which kills him. It sounds quite funny, and you know what? The audience including myself laughed, too.
Some of the supporting characters I found to be quite interesting including Ryan (Ki Hong Lee). He likes Clare but is too shy to say anything. He tells Clare that his cousin (played by Alicia Lee) can read Ancient Chinese and can help her understand the writing on the box. Ryan also does some investigative work into the box since it has a history. The scene where he tells Clare the history of the box is interesting and even includes Jerry O’Connell. Another character that I liked was Clare’s friend Meredith (Sydney Park). She’s obsessed with this monster killing game on her phone and thinks this whole box debacle is ridiculous. She’s a good friend and tries her best to level with Clare once her friend is unable to stop wishing even though she knows the price for making them.
While the film does lack in the scares department, — even though the film is marketed as a horror film — you will leave the theater probably laughing at what you saw. There is one scene where two characters are in danger of getting killed, but we are not sure which one. This scene does offer a great deal of suspense and for a moment I was hooked. It kept me guessing, which is a good thing.
Verdict 3 out of 5
Wish Upon is not scary and definitely not original, and although the first 30 minutes of the film are very cheesy and quite funny, I have to say that I was quite surprised. The film does at least offer some sort of backstory as to the origins of the box that can grant the wishes, and with some ground rules, too. The performances are good, but I do think that the script needed some tweaks. The direction could’ve been different if the film was rated R, but since it wasn’t the film does feel bogged down. Nevertheless, Wish Upon does work as a childish thriller, even though we can’t take what’s happening seriously. It’s not a bad movie and it’s not memorable, but it’s not half bad either. It’s good for an after midnight flick. Be sure to check out the film’s website because they are granting wishes, but be careful what you wish for.