Release Date: July 14, 2017
Director: John R. Leonetti
Writer: Barbara Marshall
Cast: Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, Ki Hong Lee, Mitchell Slaggert, Shannon Purser, Sydney Park, Elisabeth Rohm, Josephine Langford, Alexander Nunez, Daniela Barbosa, Kevin Hanchard, Sherilyn Fenn, Raegan Revord, Alice Lee, Victor Sutton, Albert Chung, Michelle Alexander, Natalie Prinzen-Klages, Nora Prinzen-Klages, Monique Soleil Stinchcombe, Danielle Pollari, Rosalina Lee, Ryan Taerk
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 90 minutes
Production Company: Broad Green Pictures, Busted Shark Productions, Orion Pictures
Budget: $12,000,000 (estimated)
Everyone in the history of existence has at least once wished themselves to be in a better situation than their current state. If you say otherwise you’re most likely lying. As you’ve heard the saying before, the grass is always greener on the other side. That’s part of the premise our lead actress Joey King goes through within Wish Upon. That she could just wish her pain away, and make her desires come true. Seems innocent enough, but she may not have been paying attention. I saw the trailer of this film one month ago, and stayed away from any marketing material since. Not by choice, but it’s just the way things turned out. Going in I thought it may intensify my experience since I was partially blind to what was to come. While I enjoyed getting to know the characters early on, after a while, going in fresh didn’t matter. Majority being more predictable than the next number after 3. Making wishes is something everyone has dreamed of, so all will be able to relate, but the horrific character decisions made towards the second half of the film, turns this story into a hot steaming mess of embarrassing trash.
What is done well is the humor within the high school. Seemed like yesterday since I was there and all the immature things teenagers did in those days was shown large on screen. The casting matches the comedy as well. While some looked a little over their age, It reminded me of growing up in those days. One role that didn’t go over too well was being Jonathan Shannon played by Ryan Phillippe. There was nothing inside of him other than an empty void. The lead with Clare Shannon (Joey King) showcased a real struggle she had to go through, that’s no sensitive subject. Early, only her pain was expressed through a few vivid editing tricks that really hit home. You could feel her pain as she tried to move on from a dark past that haunted her. Most could only imagine, and Joey was able to emote the way she should’ve sold her depth. Shortly after for some reason the film decided to stop being great and turn into a toilet bowl mess.
With director John R. Leonetti behind the camera, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the foul stench Wish Upon creates is from the same man responsible for Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. He really crapped the bed with this one (no sheets) to where instead of throwing it away, you burn the house down. I mean seriously he might as well had Clare go put a gas pump down her throat and fill up calling it water with the writing this script had to delivery. Clare went from a sweet young woman that you route for in high school, into a raging beast with so low dirt moral could climb aboard. At one point in the film, she started doing the exact opposite of common sense, ignoring all logic and reason. This film is only ninety minutes, but is already 45 minutes too long. If Clare and a few others used their brain the film would be over, but for the sake of making a movie, poor writing forced this stretched runtime.
At another point, the film makes it blatantly obvious it’s a PG-13 rating. Every moment of intensity to build up is cut short by edit cuts, and a lack of blood. During a few moments where the film could maintain some redeeming quality, every clichés erupts simultaneously creating nothing but a bore. Clare started making wishes that came true, but soon learn they have heavy price to pay. With all the evidence around her screaming at the top of her lungs she ignores every sign to continue in her selfish ways. This literally has to be one of the dumbest written characters in film history. Imagine someone killing another person for a month of free happy meals. Sure, there might be a few crazy psyches in the world that would do this sort of thing, but I don’t want to see that as the lead in a feature film.
The fact that this was even green lit is scary. What’s scarier is the lack of effort to fix the problem during testing but who knows. Wish Upon from the start teases and teases you with random attempted jump scares that rip off Final Destination containing no originality. It’s an insult with its weak characters that don’t think beyond their reach, and struggle to keep you entertained. This is an example of not to make a film; especially with the abandonment of reason with Clare’s role. It turned out to be so laughably bad with her performance; some may call it good while I call it a shame.