“Wish Upon” stars Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, Elisabeth Rohm, and Ki Hong Lee. Released on July 14, 2017, the film is about a young teenager who finds a mysterious music box that can grant wishes. She later discovers that every wish she makes comes with a bloody price.
The film is directed by John R. Leonetti, who also directed Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, The Butterfly Effect 2, and Annabelle. Remember when people always tell you to be careful what you wish for? Well, you might as well keep that phrase in mind when your wishes actually come true and are as deadly as one of the death scenes from the Final Destination films. That sums up the concept of this latest summer horror flick from Annabelle director John R. Leonetti. Now, normally I would pass this up as another cheesy horror film that’s made with a lower budget, but I can’t resist seeing stupid people make stupid mistakes when it comes to this type of genre. Unsurprisingly, it gave me exactly what I needed, but I do wish that it had some smarts too.
If you’re expecting this film to have anything new to the overused storyline, then I’m sad to say that this is one wish that won’t be granted. It definitely follows the same old routine: the main character gets treated like dirt, someone or something helps them receive popularity, they then realize that being yourself is the way to go, yada, yada, yada. It’s very predictable for casual critics who wanted something new or unique, but if you like this type of story and don’t mind its cliched elements, then I think you’ll be fine watching it. The performances in the film were pretty decent, but not enough to drown out their poorly-developed characters, with Joey King managing to carry the film forward as Clare Shannon. I like her in some of her supporting roles like White House Down and the 2017 remake, Going in Style, but I have a feeling that she has a long way to go in terms of her leading roles. Another thing that I would like to mention is the deaths, or as I would like to call them, the “Final Destination Deaths”. In the film, whenever Clare makes a wish, the box plays this really creepy music and anyone that she’s close to gets killed off by everyday “accidents”. I appreciate Leonetti for making a couple of moments heart-pounding, but the deaths didn’t leave that much of an impact, not even a hint of fright was found in my body, and for some odd reason, they remind me so much of Final Destination. When you take away the wish-making music box element and added in the “cheating Death” element, it’s flipping Final Destination! A PG-13 rated version of Final Destination! Final Destination 6, where Death disguises himself as a Chinese wish-granting music box. I know that it sounds weird, but that’s exactly what I saw. Also, the third act of the film had one of the most anti-climatic sequences I’ve ever seen, in my opinion. To its credit, however, the film had a good message about the dangers of wish-making despite its flat execution, weak screenplay, and some stupid characters.
Overall, this is something that was left on the shelves by the creators of the Goosebumps show due to its lack of frights and its weak storytelling. “Wish Upon” is a PG-13 rated Final Destination ripoff that has Death playing a role as an evil wish-granting genie in a music box. The performances were passable, including Joey King, and there were a couple of moments that made my heart beat faster than a drummer at a rock concert, but its easy-to-spot flaws will make people wish that this film didn’t exist. But, to be fair, if it wasn’t for the ending, I would’ve given it a lower grade. I’m serious, that ending made me laugh so hard that I wound up wishing that they would play that scene at least five more times. I’m sorry, guys, but I can’t be mad at the film for giving me a good laugh. Yes, it’s another poorly-executed horror film, but at least I got through it with a smile on my face, as usual. If you like watching bad horror films, I would say that it’s worth watching at home instead of at the theater. If you’re a fan of horror films that are well-made and scary, you’re not going to like this one at all.