Halloween Selects: “Wish Upon”

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It feels like W. W. Jacobs‘s 1902 tale, The Monkey’s Paw has been adapted in every which way. Remember the “Treehouse of Horror II” from The Simpsons? Wishes granted with unattended consequences. What would you do if you had such power? We have all pondered that scenario at least once or twice.

Wish Upon is a combination of “The Monkey’s Paw”, inspiration from the elaborate deaths of The Final Destination series, and teen drama. The movie itself gets caught in the confines of doing everything we’ve seen before and nothing much else. Clare Shannon (Joey King), is a 17 year old high school student who is your prototypical, wise-cracking outcast that is odds with the popular students. She is also reeling from memories of her mother’s mysterious suicide. Her father, Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe), ex-musician now super hoarder, finds a Chinese music box within his discoveries one day. He gives it to Clare on her birthday and inadvertently, all hell breaks loose from there.

The wishes themselves are right on par with what you would think someone in Clare’s position would be. Wealth, popularity, and for the popular boy at school to like her. However, once she catches wind that there’s a blood price to be paid for every wish she makes, she doesn’t stop. Clare is addicted to the promises of magic box and thinks she can outsmart it. The discovery of the sinister nature of the box follows many basic horror troves in other movies that escalates over time. With the abundance of wishes (seven in total), you don’t get to sit with the consequences of one too long.

Wish Upon’s main problem is that there’s nothing inherently memorable about it. The only thing scary from it is the corruption of power. The movie feels like a super cut of many horror movies you’ve seen before. The acting within the movie does not necessarily hamper it, there’s a basis of going with everything tried and true. An interesting plot point that director John R. Leonetti (Annabelle) could have explored involves the disintegration of Clare’s character with the music box. You start off the movie rooting for her because of all the adversity that she has to overcome. However, as the wishes start, Clare becomes greedy. If there was more of an emphasis on this, WP could have been more interesting.

Coupled with a PG-13 rating that kept Wish Upon from taking more risks, the movie tries to reach some highs, but brings itself back down before realizing where they can go.

Main Photo Credit: Broad Green Pictures

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Author: Murjani Rawls View all posts by
Writer | Photographer | Beast

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