Wish Upon is a hard one to review, because different people are definitely going to come out of it with widely varying responses to it. The general storyline is pretty straightforward: Claire (played by Joey King), a high school girl in the lower ranks of the social structure, is bullied constantly, and having a dumpster-diving father, Jonathan (played by Cruel Intentions’ Ryan Phillippe) who is still damaged by the decade-earlier suicide of Clare’s mother does nothing to help her situation. In an effort to help improve her spirits, Jonathan decides to gift her with an elaborately carved box covered with ancient Chinese writing (Claire is a Sinophile). She’s still learning Chinese, but she manages to make out one portion of the writing: Seven Wishes. As any introverted and bullied highschooler might try, she wishes ill on her oppressor. Just in this case, the wish comes true. Money, boys, popularity, all suddenly are coming her way, but then she realizes that those who she is close to are all dying and for each wish the box will exact a very high price.
That’s not a bad plot, I mean renowned films are made with far less premise (Paranormal Activity), but the challenge from Wish Upon comes from the fact that it’s all very softball. Nothing is really a shock, there’s not anything really gory, and it’s as much of a softball version of a horror film as I can recall. It’s so focused around Claire and the social structure elements of high school that it really has a vibe of a cross between Twilight and for it’s horror elements, Final Destination. As one viewer commented in our screening, “this might have been compelling had it been the first horror movie I’d ever seen.” And perhaps that’s one way to consider this film – if you have a 13-15 year old and they haven’t watched much horror, then this might be a great viewing for them. However if you’re someone who will dig the aforementioned Final Destination and Paranormal Activity franchises, then this film will be incredibly unremarkable and free of any real elements of horror as you’re used to it. But throw a 13 year old boy or girl in that audience, and the reaction will be very different.
Wish Upon also stars Alice Lee as Gina and Ki Hong Lee as Ryan, and was written by the time-jumping dinosaur series, Terra Nova, scribe Barbara Marshall.
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