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Broad Green Pictures
Joey King stars in "Wish Upon".
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It says something about a film’s power when the actors, script and direction can mold together and reduce you to tears from the power they display on screen. I won’t mince words, Wish Upon had me in tears afterward. As I walked back to my car and told my friend about what I just witnessed, I couldn’t stop crying.

Oh, my bad, crying laughing. Big difference.

Clare Shannon (Joey King) witnesses her mother commit suicide as a child after her mother threw away an unknown music box. In high school now, she’s the one that everyone, besides her two friends, makes fun of. She’s the classroom punching bag that gets ridiculed in school and on social media.

Her father (Ryan Phillippe) basically works as a garbage picker and finds that mysterious music box while digging through some random person’s trash. Clare, of course, is in a Chinese course in school so she can make out the “seven wishes” from the ancient Chinese writing on the box.

Her wishes are largely narcissistic feeding from “I wish my dead uncle that I inadvertently killed would leave me his fortune” or “I wish my dad was cool” (no bullshit, she really wishes this so that her dad would perform saxophone for her and her friends). Clare learns that her selfish wishes come with a price — someone close to her dies every time she makes a wish. And with every new wish comes a death that creeps closer and closer to her.

This movie is an utter anomaly. It’s not scary at all. It doesn’t even adhere to the lazy jump-scares-every-minute technique to grab scares. It’s just unable to produce anything that could possibly be labeled as scary. Wish Upon is so disjointed from what works in a horror film that it can’t even do tactics that require zero prowess to pull off.

Clare is an outcast. She’s supposed to be the character you root for to change the outcome of all these deaths and come out on top. You realize quickly that she’s just as idiotic and selfish as the people that she wants to one up. All of her wishes are made to solely benefit herself (and her father to a lesser extent). There’s nothing for the audience to empathize with when her wishes are vain and selfish. 

Here’s the thing: the audience for this film isn’t waiting for a film critic to put out their views before they decide to go see it. This film has its audience, the type that sees the typical bottom of the barrel mainstream horror flicks. They don’t need or want anything hard hitting or thought provoking and I get that. Get your cheap scares for 90 minutes then jet out the theater. But even the audience I saw it with couldn’t take how pitifully idiotic it was.

Everyone in attendance was wholeheartedly laughing at how this movie decides to end. It’s hilariously bad. Almost genius in its execution of frivolously throwing away everything the story was building towards to try their hand at a failed send off scare.

Nothing about this movie is redeeming, obviously. The crew behind this film knew what they were doing when they made it. I don’t want to knock the main actress as she’s only 17 and has a long road of improvement ahead of her, but her attempt to convey any sense of terror was hysterical.

Obviously, I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular with this film and I’m not mad at its existence or even the audience it's made for. I just want to have fun addressing how silly everything in this film is. It’s a disposable horror film that they hope will collect a few million then fade into obscurity. Even putting it on that scale, it did worse than usual. Wish Upon is awful, but I can’t deny that I enjoyed myself at the expense of a film that even failed at being insubstantial.

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About the Author

Kevin Tudor

Born and raised in the mean streets of Yukon, Oklahoma, Kevin is currently majoring in...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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