I swear these by-the-numbers horror films with crappy characters are being churned out in some basement as part of some devious plot for global takeover.
Wish Upon is a film that tries to convince us all teenagers are horrible human beings and should probably be put onto a desert island to save the rest of us. Wait. What? Oh, shit, sorry, that’s not the plot, it is just what the film is more or less doing. We follow Clare (Joey King), who is the only decently adjusted teenager in this world. She finds a magic box (too bad it wasn’t the puzzle box from Hellraiser) and discovers she can make wishes with it. Before any of this happens, we get to see that Clare is bulled (for undetermined reasons) and the whole thing is just a bloated and crappy version of reality. Instead of hitting any of these issues with any actual heft, we instead make her bullied in an attempt to force sympathy. I guess the film does one thing better than most; it is everyone else who is unlikable and not the main character. However, this still doesn’t really make me want to watch or be around these people. It is just tiring.
As with most horror films (particularly those of the PG-13 variety) we spend way too much time on the setup before anything interesting happens. All these small moments are fairly inconsequential, and do nothing save move the running time up to an acceptable 90 minutes. We are given tepid scares piecemeal, and I guess they work.
Of course, the wishes have to come with a price. We have all seen or heard this story before—be careful what you wish for… blah blah blah. I think a film where someone is given a set amount of wishes with no consequences would be more interesting. Sure, it wouldn’t be a horror film, but imagine how most people would squander such an opportunity?
So, once Clare figures out bad shit happens when she uses the wishes she must try to figure out what is wrong with the wishing box. Before then, we get to watch Clare become vapid and shallow—thus undermining all the humanizes crap done in the first third of the movie. I get the point they are trying to make (hard to miss as it bashes you over the head), but why the point matters seems to be elusive to the creators and the audience.
The film looks fine. It is professionally made, lighting is good, camera work is fine. Writing is serviceable to scare teenagers. The whole thing just smacks of a corporate film. If EA made horror movies, this would be it. Cookie cutter filmmaking in a nutshell here. There is nothing unique, it just plops through the tropes with reckless abandon.
I think they thought they were making some great points, but they are too heavy handed to really matter. The twist at the end is more likely to garner laughter than any sort of thought or discussion. Don’t waste your time. 3/10