‘Be careful what you wish for’
Wish Upon is a 2017 American supernatural horror feature film directed by John R. Leonetti (Wolves at the Door; Annabelle) from a screenplay by Barbara Marshall (Viral). It stars Joey King (The Conjuring), Ryan Phillippe (I Know What You Did Last Summer) and Ki Hong Lee.
Twelve years after discovering her mother committed suicide, 17-year-old Clare Shannon (Joey King) is being bullied at school, embarrassed by her manic, hoarder father Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe) and ignored by her longtime crush.
All that changes when her father comes home with an old music box whose inscription promises to grant its owner seven wishes. While Clare is initially skeptical of this magic box, she can’t help but be seduced by its dark powers and is thrilled as her life radically improves with each wish.
Clare finally has the life she’s always wanted and everything seems perfect – until the people closest to her begin dying in violent and elaborate ways after each wish.
Although she realises that she must get rid of the box, Clare finds herself unable and unwilling to part with her new-and-improved life – leading her down a dark and dangerous path…
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“Wish Upon isn’t over-the-top wacky or campy, and in fact, feels slightly low-energy at times, but it’s the kind of simple filmmaking coupled with absolutely insane writing and plot points that make it an ideal candidate for so-bad-it’s-good viewing.There are so many opportunities for midnight movie audience interaction too — bizarre and strange little motifs practically screaming out for a handful of popcorn to be thrown at the screen.” Katie Walsh, Chicago Tribune
“While the film is entirely lacking in any scares, it’s not without some unintentional guffaws. With one particular wish, Phillippe’s thankless dad character goes from raiding garbage for scraps to becoming a successful saxophonist, his skill for jazz at one point preventing our underwritten heroine from stopping her wish-making massacre. The rapid-fire action/consequence nature of the plot also becomes quickly laughable…” Benjamin Lee, The Guardian
“Director John R. Leonetti has an inconsistent talent for running a rake over the audience’s nerves. Topping the sewing machine scene from his cheaply effective evil-doll potboiler Annabelle, the best moment here wrings cruelly prolonged suspense from the digit-mangling potential of a garbage disposal. But most of Wish Upon is too terminally silly (and predictable) to elicit more than derisive chuckles…” A.A. Dowd, A.V. Club
” …Wish Upon is neither scary, nor stylish, and it squanders a promising young cast on a dull and soulless story. Considering the fact that this is a year that has seen films like Get Out and It Comes At Night make enormous waves and redefine silver screen horror, Wish Upon feels like a huge step backward for the genre as a whole.” Conner Schwerdtfeger, Cinema Blend
” …the story is perhaps a little too simple, missing some opportunities to be cleverer. Also, some emotional beats miss their mark by some distance (every cool-dad-saxophone scene is excruciatingly cringe-worthy) and, sadly, the ending is heavily telegraphed and marred by some iffy effects work. Nonetheless, Wish Upon is an enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes…” Steven Hickey, UK Horror Scene
“Wish Upon livens up whenever the box extracts its blood price, but only a little. Nobody ever dies in an unremarkable way, only through chain reaction slapstick mishaps that involve garbage disposals, chainsaws, deadly bathtub spigots and the like. Even routine car accidents are staged to make the impact seem at once tragic and silly.” Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
“Working from a lackluster script by Barbara Marshall (Viral), director John R. Leonetti targets a younger audience than with his R-rated Annabelle, in what amounts to an unsatisfying combination of Final Destination and The Box. Beyond middle-schoolers, it’s unclear who would enjoy this derivative, cliche-filled exercise in horror lite.” Sandie Angulo Chen, New Haven Register
” …the timidity with which this movie proceeds goes against the grain of everything it should stand for. Aside from its bonkers It’s a Wonderful Life ending (as well as Park’s sassy turn as one of Clare’s BFFs), there’s nothing much here to distinguish it from other idiotic entries in the genre, most of which primarily depend upon turning up the volume to elicit scares…” Steve Davis, The Austin Chronicle
“The inescapable comparisons to other films and franchises certainly impede one’s potential enjoyment of what’s presented here. After all why would you want to sit through a watered-down version of a similar story when you can watch the same thing that provides you with what you wish to see and in all it’s bloody detail. This could have been a serviceable horror film if they went all in.” Ernie Trinidad
” …most of the film’s appeal comes from its sheer tonal oddness. While it never tips into knowing humor or self-parody, Wish Upon rarely feels much like a horror movie, with most scenes taking place in bright summery sunshine, and more energy pumped into a girls-night-out shopping montage than the sequences of mounting peril. It doesn’t help that most of the cast is forced into losing battles with some highly dodgy teen dialogue… Andrew Barker, Variety
“Wish Upon is not just the genre at its worst, but also at its most senseless. With the right kinds of expectations, Wish Upon could be a hilariously good time at the theaters. In that sense, it achieves the same kind of thrills that the Final Destination films did, but it also feels just as, if not even more, thin and dumb as those movies. Just go see something else at the cinema.” Alex Welch, IGN
“Though a jumble – the story is at once predictable and awkwardly structured – Wish Upon works fairly well, and is certainly a step up from Leonetti’s last non-sequel (the Manson murders movie Wolves at the Door). King is an engaging, credibly fallible lead and has a nice rapport with her besties (Shannon Purser from Stranger Things, Sydney Park) and the reliable Ryan Philippe does wonders with an underwritten deadbeat Dad role.” Kim Newman, Empire
- Joey King – The Conjuring
- Ryan Phillippe – I Know What You Did Last Summer
- Ki Hong Lee
- Mitchell Slaggert
- Shannon Purser – Stranger Things
- Sydney Park –The Walking Dead
- Kevin Hanchard – Orphan Black
- Sherilyn Fenn – Twin Peaks
Wish Upon took $14,301,505 against a reported budget of $12 million.