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[Review] ‘Wish Upon’ is a Horror Lover’s Teenage Dream

Be careful what you wish for – that’s what they say, isn’t it? It’s not wise to spoil yourself with selfish gifts. People should appreciate what they already have. But what if your wish wasn’t to be the richest girl in the world or the most famous pop star who ever lived? What if you just wanted to bring a lost loved one back from the dead? What if you just wanted to be happy again? All Clare wants is to see her mother once more, and remember for a moment what it was like to have a normal life. That’s why when her father presents her with an ancient wishing box, Clare decides to use her newfound power to tamper with Death’s plans – but little does she know, toying with fate comes at the price of blood.

It all started when Clare was a little girl and discovered her mother’s body hanging lifeless from the ceiling in the attic. From that day forward, things just weren’t right. Her father never recovered from the shock, and as a coping mechanism began dumpster diving and hoarding as many random items as humanly possible. Because he couldn’t hold on to his wife, he fills up his house with wall to wall objects and artifacts and things that will never leave him. He sits on his porch and drinks and talks about the days when things were good. He can’t even see the effect he’s having on his daughter, who just wants to move on and be a regular teenage girl.

Despite her father’s unbearably embarrassing hobby that will undoubtedly prove to be the demise of Clare’s social life, his digging skills seem to pay off one day when he presents his daughter with a unique gift – an antique wishing box that plays pretty music and bears mysterious symbols on its red and golden edges. It’s intriguing to look at and Clare surprisingly finds herself grateful for her dad’s discovery, but soon, the tides change. After being bullied by a popular princess at school one day, Clare half-jokingly grabs the box and wishes through gritted teeth that “Darcy Chapman would go rot”, and lo and behold, she did just that. The very next day, Clare learned that her wish had come true, and she quickly realized that she could actually have whatever she wants – even a brand new start with the mom she never got to know.

Wish Upon is a strange little movie. On one hand, it’s always interesting and entertaining to see different interpretations of W.W. Jacob’s 1902 short story The Monkey’s Paw being adapted into various cinematic experiences. It’s always fun to see how writers play with the idea of a regular everyday person being handed a supernatural power that gives them a slight advantage over everyone else — a great example being season 3 episode 7 of The Simpsons, simply titled “The Monkey’s Paw”. However, it’s really quite odd to have a movie starts out with the tragedy of suicide, and follow up that traumatic experience with a man who digs trash out of garbage bins across the street from his daughter’s school, not because he needs it, but because that’s how he chooses to deal with his wife’s death. One moment, Clare and her friends are in a shopping mall montage, giggling and trying on expensive clothes in front of outlet store mirrors, and the next, her friends are being brutally butchered as payment for all of the wishes Clare’s having granted. It’s kind of like if Final Destination were an after school special.

That being said, if I were a thirteen-year-old girl and I had a bunch of friends over to watch a ridiculous horror movie while we paint our nails and call up boys, I can’t deny that I might throw this movie on in the background. It’s clearly not the deep methodical film that could’ve been when working with such inspirational source material, and the tonal shifts are downright silly, but it works for what it is – a summer horror movie for teens to duck into the nearest theater and escape the heat and enjoy. Sure, the lessons are there, about how grief can lead people to commit ill-advised irrational acts in the name of solace, and how actions have consequences, and the grass is always greener on the other side – but at the end of the day, that’s not why people are going to see and possibly enjoy this movie. They’re going to see it because they want to escape the real world for a little while, and laugh at over-the-top blood gags and cheesy dialogue and maybe even have a nightmare or two, and for that reason, this peculiar little movie about a girl who gets what she wishes for is actually a surprising success, because it knows exactly what it is, and rolls with it. If you’re looking for a Degrassi-esque teenage-centric horror story with pretty faces and trivial reasons to kill people off, look no further – Wish Upon is your best bet for having a goofy good time at the movies.



COMMENTS

33 Comments
  • Chris Risdal

    What did they give ya for a thumbs up this time?

  • Tiger Quinn

    It’s basically a lesser Final Destination. Dumb kids doing dumb things and then exploding.

    • Khy

      Sounds like my kinda movie

  • Khy

    I want to do a tripple feature of this, Flatliners and Polaroid

    • Totes

    • Josh_the_Jawa

      Somehow, I don’t think you’ll live to tell the tell.

  • Yay! I’m actually excited for this movie, pretty much in the same way i’m thrilled for “happy death day”.
    Something, almost, new and original (instead of remaking Final Destination et simila they ripped it off, you now like Fast and Furious is a ripoff of Point Break) with a simple premise and decent production values.
    I bet this little low budget movie’s gonna be better than a lot of big budget movies from this year.

    • diapers

      Yup, I’m also perplexed at how stoked I am for Wish Upon and Happy Death Day.

      • Probably because you, like me, are tired of stretched sagas and overhyped indie horror.
        We need a little bit of movies like Wish upon and HDD

  • Necro

    Kalyn in all honesty would an R rating have helped this film at all?

    • 100% yes. I’m not anti-PG-13 by any means, but it’s clear that this was shot for an R-rating and edited down (poorly) to get a PG-13.

      • Necro

        Man I hate hearing that shit! I just read that a lot of the actors involved were surprised that it ended up with a PG-13 rating. I’m not anti Pussy-13 either, but more times than not I’d rather see an R rated film. Why do they do this? Don’t they learn any lessons? This pitiful excuse of a wider target audience/money is shit! And this directors last film was good IMO in ‘Annabelle’ and not to mention rated R! That I will never understand, why take a step backwards like that? The ratings for his films should be switched, ‘Annabelle’ PG-13; I say that because the one sub-genre where PG-13 actually works and has been successful is the paranormal/supernatural, haunted house, and possession films. Don’t get me wrong I’d rather see an R on everything Horror. ‘Wish Upon’ R; the premise itself screams for the audience to be shown the results of the deaths after the wishes get granted. Surely he’s watched at least one of the ‘Final Destination’ films. How he just went through and did a good job and knows what it takes in the genre, and to turn around and do this. First time you guys broke the news of ‘Wish Upon’ I was excited, but weary, weary of what I feared the most……..PG-13.

        • If the film was shot with the intention of a PG-13 rating I have no problem with it. But this WAS clearly shot to be R and then butchered in the editing room. That makes for a poorly-made film.

          • Necro

            So the butchering was a director decision or the MPAA? I’m with you if you wanna release PG-13 watered down Horror than do it from the get go. Man to get all the way there with the film only to basically get rid of all the best stuff! I couldn’t go through with it if I was the director. Why do that? I mean surely they didn’t have to shoot it with an R intention only to say “well, you know fuck it! I’m just gonna go ahead and get rid of all of the good stuff and keep a tenth of the violence and go with basically a shell of the film now instead.”

          • I have no idea whose decision it was, but my money is on the studio. It was clear it was originally R though. The editing is atrocious.

          • Necro

            So now the announcement of the “promised” ‘Unrated Director’s Cut’. What I got out of it was the version that was originally supposed to be released is what’s coming. It was said it was cut (watered down) due to “pacing” If you have the slightest idea of what that means please……..I’m all ears! I’ve heard of time restraint, to gory, to violent, and to sexual for reasons for gutting a film, I’ve never heard of pacing.

          • Pacing is a pretty go-to response for studios. What it is supposed to mean is that there are probably scenes that were cut to help it drag less. For example, Wish Upon is 91 minutes. The full cut will be 102 minutes. Sometimes those 11 minutes can make a huge difference. Like, have you ever said that a movie felt just a little too long? If a studio feels that then they’ll cut what they can.

            In this movie’s case, I think it’s BS. I think it was just to get the PG-13 rating. That’s just my opinion though.

          • Necro

            Ok thanks for the explanation. Yeah I’ve felt like that about a few films that they were a little too long. Well your opinion has gotta be pretty good, I mean hell you work for a Horror website (complete envy by the way). So I hope the statement is true from this guy that he “promises” this is the version fans will want to see.

  • Cheddar Hayes

    Either they are getting something for this positive review or they have no credibility when it comes to reviews. Just look at the Rotten Tomatoes reviews so far.

    • It has 27%. Mostly negative, sure, but there are still 27% positive reviews. It’s not often that a movie gets a 0%. So there are at least 6 other critics out there that agree with her. No need to assume she’s getting something in return for simply enjoying a fluff horror film.

      • Cheddar Hayes

        I can’t believe they got to you too Trace.

        • If you read the last line of my review…..:”It could have easily been a 3/5 but ends up being a 2.5/5. Rent it.”

          • Cheddar Hayes

            Trace, is it also True this movie is a Venom origin story that takes place in the Cloverfield universe?

          • You are a sassy queen lol

  • Elizabeth

    It might not be my cup of tea but anything that might get teen girls into horror is a win in my book. I think sometimes we forget it’s not just about the adult horror fans.

  • Josh_the_Jawa

    Who asked for this movie? And it’s so weird just how much awful advertising it’s getting everywhere on the Internet.

    • Pluto Hiller

      There are many great films that I never asked for but am glad were made. I definitely don’t ask for any more ‘Star Wars’ films or ‘Spiderman’ reboots, but that crap keeps coming.

    • Meisha’s Taint

      I asked for it and another guy named Jeff in Stockton did as well

      Keep up

  • Pluto Hiller

    While I’m not interested in this movie the slightest bit, I actually appreciate the review. It seems like every website does their own movie reviews and they want to critique each movie like they’re on the Oscar’s board. When I read a review on BD, I want to know how good a horror film is as viewed from the POV of a horror fan. ‘Wish Upon’ is a by-the-numbers PG-13 horror film for young teens that need something other than ‘Transformers’ and Superhero blockbusters. I like giving movies positive credit based on the audience it’s aiming for.

    • thetaxmaan

      ” I like giving movies positive credit based on the audience it’s aiming for.”

      Thats a fair argument, to admit that something isn’t necessarily “good” but is good at its particular intentions and audience.

      Especially if the reviewer actually understands the proposed audience.

      That was eberts explanation for himself, but he would proceed to describe what movies had achieved appealing to an audience that he had no understanding or grasp of.

      His genre movie reviews were always absurdly wrong from the smugly aloof and disassociated perspective of a chicago elitist.

  • Todd

    The reveal about the main girl character was on paper pretty clever, but it’s too tonally wild of a movie to get behind. however it’s funny (not intentioned to be) and could very well be a cult classic teenage girl show to their friends for years to come.

  • HalesTales

    When I first saw this poster, I thought this was a Conjuring spin-off about the music box Lorraine looks into in part two. (If I’m wrong and it’s part one, sorry.)

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ee74e56af7469cf8f4420b0ccd5d3252d103f0c4b18c26134facc9f2148a3cf4.png

  • Someone got paid writing a positive Review AGAIN!

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