If interested in Wish Upon, I want you to walk in with a post-Child’s Play, pre 2nd reboot, Chucky mindset. In that, while things are kind of graphic, they are also comical and a bit cheesy. Alongside that, I implore you to either bring a friend who gives comical commentary or go to a theater where people generally talk during the movie.
It has been around 12 years since Clare’s (Joey King) mother (Elisabeth Röhm) committed suicide and, needless to say, her family hasn’t been the same. Her dad Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe), rather than tour playing the saxophone has become some weird kind of hoarder and he is perhaps the least weird person in Clare’s family. For then there is Uncle August (Victor Sutton) who is hinted to have done something awful to Clare’s mother Johanna when she was alive.
But, at the heart of the story is a girl trying to make life better. Easier even. She does this through 6 of her 7 wishes. Each one rather selfish and ranging from popularity to money, to her childhood crush being hopelessly in love with her. All of which comes at a cost. Thus forcing Clare to be reminded of the old adage: Be careful what you wish for.
Between Meredith (Sydney Park) and Clare, we get a lot of funny moments. Of which, maybe ½ or ¼ are intentional. The rest will fully depend on who is in the audience with you. I had a bunch of high school kids and let me tell you their commentary made this movie. It was like when I see Black films, like Tyler Perry movies. With the right audience, they will do more to make you laugh than the actors on screen. For this film is perhaps the definition of camp. Hence the mention of Chucky since, though with less gore, sexual content [note]non-existent in this movie[/note] and vulgarity, it may help you understand what you’re paying for.
Unlike with comedies and dramas, I haven’t built up a tolerance for horror and thrillers. So when the music gets silent and a jump scare happens, my nerves are on ends. But something this film plays up well is making you question who will be sacrificed for Clare’s wishes. On top of that, it takes just the right amount of time to drag out the moment as you prep for someone to die.
There Are Characters Which Will Get A Reaction Out Of You
Being that I’m a fan of Joey King, naturally, it was a quick connection. However, little Sydney Park, who people my age may remember from her various stints on That’s So Raven and Hannah Montana, you’ll fall for her too. Not just because she is funny, but she is real.
What I mean by that is, she isn’t made to just be some jokester. There are times she calls Clare out on her BS and depending on how you feel about Clare, you’ll either hate of love Meredith. Which is more than I can say for damn near everyone else.
Cringey Performances & Dialog
Shannon Purser was so dead in her performance as June that it made me wonder if her idol is Dakota Fanning. I mean, and with her just getting an Emmy nomination, I would associate her performance in this with Eddie Murphy in Norbit. Like, if you never saw Stranger Things and solely knew her in this movie, you would not understand why people kept trying to make “Save Barb” a thing.
But she isn’t alone. Ryan (Ki-Hong Lee) is that weird high school kid who isn’t as pervy as his friend, who takes a underskirt picture of Clare, yet most of what he says is corny. Like the type of stuff which maybe, in the 80s or 70s, might have been original, but now has become like a trope.
It’s Predictable & Sometimes Makes No Sense
There is absolutely nothing complicated about this movie. The wish box’s history isn’t made that complex or interesting, the trajectory of the movie seems pretty standard, and overall, I’m kind of surprised this movie didn’t end up released in January. For it really does seem like an odd movie to release in the heart of the summer. Especially since this doesn’t even seem like it could qualify for counter-programming against War for the Planet of the Apes.
But perhaps what makes things worse is trying to under Clare’s decision. Like, with the scene screenshot above, someone is stalking her and like your traditional horror heroine, her foolish self goes after them. Mind you, Clare’s only skill is in the arts so don’t tell me how this petite young woman was supposed to fight off someone. Granted, she has an interesting fight with Darcie (Josephine Langford), but that ultimately was just them rolling around.
What saved this movie was the fact it is funny and the tension before the kills is well executed. Outside of that, something about it leaves you surprised MTV didn’t produce this. For, essentially, this is a horror comedy. Now, whether that was intentional or not, I can’t say. However, I am left feeling mixed about it for while I never felt the need to check my phone to see when this would be over, at the same time I would not say this is worth a full ticket price. Which, for my area, is about $15 for a standard show.