Oh god! Somehow I’ve been thrust back into January/February where all the bad horror movies get tossed! SOMEBODY SAVE ME, PLEASE!!! CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE!!! CALL THE NATIONAL GUARD!!! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY AND SACRED, SOMEONE CALL DOC BROWN!!!
Okay, fine, toning down the drama, you killjoys. But serious talk, what the hell is this horror movie that is clearly meant for those… “uary” months doing in the summer line-up? Eh, fine. I doubt it would have done a better job there anyway, it looks so stupid. I mean, look at this thing. It’s about this bullied teen girl who happens upon an evil device that grants her darkest wishes as it consumes her soul or whatever, despite her friends telling her stop. Lame.
Well, here’s the cast. Starring, we have Joey King (GOING IN STYLE , INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE , OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL , and the upcoming SLENDER MAN ), Ryan Phillippe (FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS , CRUEL INTENTIONS , and TV show SHOOTER), and Ki Hong Lee (the Maze Runner films, TV show UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT, and the upcoming Maze Runner film THE DEATH CURE ).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have John R. Leonetti, known for WOLVES AT THE DOOR (2016), ANNABELLE (2014), and- abandon ship!- MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION (1997). Writing the script is Barbara Marshall, known for TV show TERRA NOVA. Composing the score is… *sigh* tomandandy, known for 47 METERS DOWN (2017), RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION (2012), and THE COVENANT (2006). And for clarity, I just learned that their real names are Tom Hajdu and Andy Milburn. Fun fact of the day. Finally, the cinematographer is Michael Galbraith, making his feature film debut. Congrats, sir.
Overall, I’m expecting a stupid-ass movie with dumb characters doing frustratingly dumb things, getting other dumb people in trouble; the standard formula for a bad horror movie.
This is my honest opinion of: WISH UPON
Teen high schooler Clare (Joey King) is not the popular girl in school, constantly harassed by the popular girls. Her mother committed suicide when she was a child and her father raids dumpsters. One day, she’s given a music box with Chinese lettering on it. After getting into a fight with the popular Darcy Chapman (Josephine Langford), Clare makes a wish that Darcy would rot, and so Darcy does, possibly losing limbs to amputation. Soon, she realizes that the box will grant her a total of seven wishes, but unbeknownst to her, someone she knows has to die.
WISH UPON, the most surprisingly competent comedy of the year. I have to admit, I didn’t see that coming.
Haha, let me be clear before anyone freaks out. The movie is labeled as a horror film, but it’s so poorly written that it has some seriously unintentionally funny moments. Or maybe they were intentional, but they’re so much more effective than the horror, which is what this movie is supposed to consist of.
The movie opens in the most cliché way possible. Bright suburban wholesome neighborhood with the sequence ending with someone dying. Jeez, BYE BYE MAN (2017) did that too. Twinsies, much? So already, the film is ripping off from a movie that’s equally bad, so I got to thinking… how many other movies does this rip-off from? So far, I’ve come with this: gruesome deaths as a result of someone else’s actions… the Final Destination films. The evil thing makes its user crazy and stops caring about other people… I don’t know, Lord of the Rings? Cut me some slack, I’m trying here.
But most importantly, it rips off pretty much every high school movie that you can think of. In fact, the biggest scare this movie delivers is the fear that this movie is a high school drama that even Nickelodeon would find trite. You have the unpopular girl whom is so infamous that literally every single student OUTSIDE OF THE SCHOOL BUILDING will stop what they’re doing to stare at her as she walks by, smirking at her and giving her looks like she has two heads. And what is the trigger for all that attention? Her dad hops into dumpsters to salvage for what he thinks are valuable and useful items. There’s no rhyme or reason why he does this… not even joking, this little tidbit of information is left completely unjustified. But while I too admit that this is bizarre, I don’t see how that alone would merit such a brutal and widespread mockery, especially since this is the same girl whose mother committed suicide when she was a child. I’d say everyone involved has a right to be a little mentally unhinged.
Christ, I can’t believe I just defended a character’s motivations in this movie.
In any case, she’s even bullied by the school’s most popular bitch Darcie. Never mind that she’s a boring copy and paste bully that you’ve seen in every movie involving teenagers, but there is a scene that leads to the first big laugh. It’s lunch time and Clare and her friends are laughing about something and Darcie just has to know what it’s about. It’s some kind of word that needs a dictionary to define it, leading to a crowd going, “ohhhh.” This means that Darcie must retaliate… by slapping Clare. Pause for her to react slowly… pause… then Clare takes her turn and slaps her back. Something that anyone can see coming a mile away. Pause to react… pause… Darcie pushes her! Oh my god, it’s like combat in a Final Fantasy game. “My turn? Basic attack. Minus one HP. Enemy uses basic attack. Minus one HP.” Good lord, I feel like I broke a rib from how funny that shit was.
These comedic moments don’t even really let up and even go so far as to insert slapstick. You’re reading this right! Slapstick comedy in a horror movie that isn’t meant to have comedy! What is this slapstick moment you may ask? Clare walks by her high school crush at the mall, stares at him, and walks into a door! It’s about as hilarious as it sounds. And people die in the most implausible of ways in this movie. This one woman gets axed off when her long-ass ponytail dips into the garbage disposal and she accidentally turns it on, snapping her neck. There’s another scene where a character is about to be killed off. She’s walking around her dark-ass apartment room, starting off empty enough to comfortably walk around in, but then trips and gets her face impaled by a horn from a bull statue that SO CLEARLY WASN’T THERE WHEN THIS SEQUENCE BEGAN! This movie can’t even give its characters a dignified way to die! Even the ending has someone getting hit so hard by a car that they fly right into another car. All I could hear was pinball sound effects in my mind. So few characters die in this movie with any shred of dignity and I loved it.
Oh and here’s my favorite joke that I can possibly make in this review. Anyone fans of the Netflix TV show STRANGER THINGS? Well guess what, if you watch this movie, you’ll know exactly what happened to Barb, played by actress Shannon Purser, who plays one of Clare’s best friends in this. She was forced into this movie, developed an unhealthy crush on her best friend’s saxophone-playing dad, played by Ryan Phillippe, and was forced to say the following line, “Your dad is serious hot sauce. Like, sriracha hot.” Oh god, Barb! Those damned demogorgons made you suffer a fate far funnier than death!
Now, before anyone thinks that I have nothing but hilarious praise for the movie, I can’t keep going on like that as the unintentional comedy isn’t consistent. Between each of them is drawn out boredom of Chinese translations, which puts the lame writing into question again. This school apparently teaches Chinese, but a lot of good all that teaching does since Clare can’t translate any of the Chinese on the music box and spends half the movie running around taking to people who would know how to translate it. So… if her learning Chinese wasn’t going to factor into the story, why bother having it at all? If it isn’t that, it’s boring exposition about the box’s origins and where it came from and what it does and just becomes a faucet of running bullshit that no one cares about. The whole time it’s happening, you’re screaming at the screen, “More cat fights! More slapstick! For the love of God, more bad sriracha jokes!”
Oh, and it’s not scary in the least. There’s maybe one or two jump scares, but that’s probably being really generous.
Guys, this is actually kind of a riot. I did not think my time with this movie was wasted. Will I see it again in theaters? No. Will I go out of my way to buy it on Blu-Ray? No. But if it comes out on Netflix, I might skip the boring shit and admire the comedy that shouldn’t have been here. I might say unless you’re looking for a hilariously bad horror film, don’t waste your time or money. It’s not going to scare you. But it entertained me enough.
My honest rating for WISH UPON: a strong 3/5