Wish Upon (2017): A Hilariously Bad Folly
Although War for the Planet of the Apes will most likely win the weekend, there’s another movie that is getting released, Wish Upon! From the director of Annabelle (oof) comes the story of a demon wishing box that grants you wishes, but with a price. But is it worth seeing this weekend or should you just scoot to the next theater over and watch apes ride horses? The following review will be spoiler free.
Wish Upon is directed by John Leonetti and stars Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, and Ki Hong Lee.
We follow Clare (King) who isn’t exactly the most popular kid at school. However, her dad (Phillippe), who is a dumpser diver, finds a mysterious Chinese wishing box, capable of granting seven wishes to its owner. Clare begins to live it up, getting everything she ever desired. But, her gifts come with a price. She quickly discovers that each wish comes with a deadly trade-off, causing those around her to die in Final Destination-like ways.
Weirdly enough, the script for Wish Upon was put on the Black List in 2015. For those unaware, the Black List signifies the best unproduced scripts circulating Hollywood at the time. This doesn’t always translate to a good film but it does signify that there’s some quality at the roots of Wish Upon.
In 2016, however, John Leonetti, director of the atrocious Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, was reported to have signed on to direct the film. I hate to throw people under the bus since making a movie is very, very difficult, but many agreed that he was not a smart choice to helm the movie given his past work.
But hey, at least Broad Green Pictures, the company behind the movie, is granting wishes to fans that make a wish on the movie’s website. Who knows, maybe you’ll get that new car that you wanted. Or, you might succumb to a demon wishing box. Either way, take note of Wish Upon‘s horribly generic tagline: be careful what you wish for.
What I Sarcastically Liked
In a year full of horrible comedies like Baywatch, CHIPS, and Snatched, Wish Upon is the funniest movie of the year thus far. Those involved in the film struggle to set up even one tense scene, causing all the kills to be absolutely hilarious. There are moments where the stock horror music comes in and tries to slowly ratchet up the tension. But, everything about the scenes are just off. From horrible editing to bad acting, nothing about this film allows you to feel scared.
This is film is also rated PG-13, meaning that none of the kills have any of the visceral punch that would be required to suck in an audience. The movie has to cut around blood and gore, causing awkward, quick edits that are certain to cause a bunch of laughs.
For the five people excited to see this film this weekend, I’ll keep spoilers out of this review. But what I will say is that there is a moment at the end of this movie so unbelievably funny that I wanted to stand up and cheer. It’s that bad.
Years later, Wish Upon might find a cult audience due to its unintentional hilarity. Who doesn’t enjoy a good bad movie from time to time?
What I Didn’t Like
With Wish Upon‘s aforementioned PG-13 rating is an obvious ploy to market to middle schoolers and young high schoolers. Targeting a movie towards a demographic is never a bad thing. In fact, great movies do it all the time. The problem in the case of Wish Upon is that the people formulating the characters created caricatures of how teenagers actually act.
It’s as if an older studio executive said, “all I see is these kids taking selfies of themselves so let’s make sure to have characters take pictures at the worst possible times. People will think that’s hilarious!”
Sorry anonymous studio executive, but I disagree with that sentiment.
We also get to see the stereotypical popular girl spill her drink on the main character only to turn around and exclaim, “woops, my bad!” What is this, 2002?
To make matters even worse, one of the characters plays a rip-off of Pokemon Go. Does anyone play that game anymore? It even factors into an elaborate death in the film.
Who thought that any of these points would make for a good representation of high school?
What I Didn’t Like…Continued
From the moment that this film starts, we are bombarded with the terror and grief that this wishing box supposedly brings to people. However, admist cliched Googling of the ancient terrors of the box and unterrifying scares, I wondered, couldn’t you just wish that the box wouldn’t kill anyone anymore? At the very least, couldn’t you wish for the box to just disappear?
Wish Upon just has too many absurd leaps in logic to be enjoyed in a literal sense of the word. You can bypass annoying, cliched characters in a film. But when the film starts falling apart from a logical standpoint, there’s really nothing to sink your teeth into as a viewer. Rather, you’re more likely to get frustrated and confused.
Wish Upon is the best comedy of the year. Considering that it’s suppose to be a horror film, I’d say that’s less than ideal. I can’t in good conscience give this film an F, considering I had more fun watching it than any other comedy this year. But it can settle for a D-.
For those of you that enjoy checking out movies out of shear morbid curiousity, this is the film for you. It’ll most likely end up on my year-end list of the worst movies of 2017, but that doesn’t change the fact that Wish Upon is wholly entertaining. Maybe just not in the way the creative team intended…
Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on Wish Upon? Comment down below!
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