This review contains spoilers.
There are certain film ideas that I am very intrigued by. I enjoy a film where a certain aspect may have horrible consequences, which is why I enjoy time travel films so much. Another concept I enjoy is the ability to make wishes, but the wishes have deadly consequences. Enter 2017’s Wish Upon.
Wish Upon begins with a woman throwing away something wrapped in a cloth. She lets her young daughter ride her bike down the street as she goes back into the house. When the daughter comes back she ventures into the house where she finds her mother’s body hanging from a noose. Flash forward 12 years and we meet up with Clare (Joey King), a relatively normal teenager; she is now living with her father, in the same house where her mother killed herself. Clare is an outcast who is picked on constantly. Her father, Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe), apparently makes money digging through trash and selling what he finds and one day he finds a box with Chinese writing on it. He gives it to Clare who just so happens to be studying Chinese. Long story short, Clare discovers quickly that she can make seven wishes with this box, but someone connected to her will die every time she makes a wish.
The film started out promising. I wasn’t expecting too much especially because of the PG-13 rating, but not all PG-13 rated horror films are bad (i.e. The Ring). This film had a lot of problems, the first being character development. The only character developed is Clare. Her father gets some development as the film goes on as it is discovered he is a jazz musician. But before that fact is given there’s nothing. I guess his job is that he’s a dumpster diver. He must make a lot to continue to pay for that huge house they live in. Clare has two friends, June and Meredith, and they are the most two dimensional characters in the film. June is just… a person… that’s there. Meredith plays some stupid second hand “Pokemon Go” type game which leads to her death. Then there’s this character named Uncle August, who has so little development that I had to look up the character’s name on IMDb because I couldn’t even understand what they were saying when they spoke about him. He’s some old guy who lives in a mansion that Clare’s father really seems to dislike (even saying “good riddance” when he dies), but the film never explains why he doesn’t like him or even who he is. It is very lightly implied that he is related to Clare’s mother’s side of the family, but that’s about it.
The last third of the film is the worst. It’s so bad I was laughing at the film. Once Clare realizes what’s happening, does she make the correct wish (i.e. “I wish I never found this box”)? Nope, she keeps on wishing and all of her wishes are selfish, which is so overt that it’s pointed out by one of her friends (“did you make any wishes for us?”). At one point, and completely out of nowhere, Clare begins acting like the box is crack. She lies to her friends about getting rid of it and then screams out things like “I need it” and “I just like having it around”. And finally, at the end of the film, Clare fixes everything with the wish “I wish I could go back to before I got the box”, and then promptly gets hit by a car and killed. What a terrible cop out ending. She’s hit by the bully of the film and thrown at least 50 feet into the windshield of another car. I was so out of this film by this point that the only thing that was going through my mind was “how fast was she going to throw her that far into the air?”.
I went into this film expecting to be mildly entertained and wound up walking out laughing. I’m a fan of ’80s horror, so believe me I know the term “so bad it’s good” and this movie was just bad. At no point did this film have any clue what it was doing. In the beginning of the movie the little girl brings her bike back home and leaves it on the lawn and then 12 years later it’s still in the exact same position. Really? Why would anyone leave that there for 12 years? So the little girl stopped riding her bike after her mom died? This happened within the first five minutes of the film and I’m not usually one to over analyze a movie, so when I start doing it, then I’m not in the movie whatsoever. A very badly made film, boring and I hate to say it, stupid.
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