The past couple of years have seen a revival of the horror genre. Since 2013 we have seen outstanding films that includes (among others) The Conjuring, The Babadook, It Follows, Lights Out, Don’t Breathe, and most recently, Get Out. For us horror fans, the last 4 years have been a blessing and we have been lucky to get the movies we have in that timeframe. It seems, however, that our luck has run out because Wish Upon is a very disappointing movie. This movie feels cheaply and lazily made and sometimes horror movies can get away with that. Many ‘80s horror B-movies have become cult classics because of the “so bad it’s good” feel to them but, sadly, that’s just not what we got here.
The premise of the movie is this: a young high school girl named Clare Shannon (played by Joey King) comes to the possession of a strange Chinese music box that unbeknownst to her, has the ability to grant her seven wishes. There is a small catch, however, as the box requires a blood sacrifice after each wish. After the 7th wish, the box kills the owner as its final sacrifice. After finding all of this out Clare must figure out a way to get rid of the box before it consumes her.
What frustrates me most about this movie is that the actual mythology of the music box was very interesting and there is so much they could have done with that. However, instead of focusing on what is actually interesting, the movie chooses to focus on the overly cheesy and stereotypical high school drama that doesn’t amount to anything other than fuel for Clare to make more and more idiotic wishes. The thing is that this would all be forgiven if it at least gave us some nice scares but the deaths are so lazily thought out that it just comes off as silly. When a horror movie makes the audience laugh when it is supposed to make it scream, you know you have a serious problem in your hands.
The movie is predictable so there is no shock value to anything. It becomes very easy to know who is going to die and how they’re going to do so. There is so much about the way the movie unfolds that doesn’t really make sense. The characters themselves left a lot to be desired. Joey King is a much better actress than she was allowed to be here. She ends up coming off as a whiny and selfish girl who would gladly let people die for her own happiness. Shannon Purser, who plays one of the best friends, plays a cheap version of her character from Stranger Things. Hi Kong Lee plays a guy who switches back and forth between liking and hating Clare so many times that it becomes a joke. There is no one that stands out in a positive way.
I wanted to like this movie and I was rooting for it. I hoped it would be good but it wasn’t. There was one scene that I really enjoyed where we switch between two characters that are both on the verge of death, but we don’t actually know who’s going to die. It becomes a fun game of luck that was as clever as it was thrilling and I applaud them for it. Unfortunately there was not nearly enough of that. Not to mention that some of the deaths felt awfully familiar to things we’ve seen in the Final Destination franchise. It is overall a very disappointing film with one of the worst endings I have seen in recent years.