by Hope Madden
Wish Upon is, basically, a Twilight Zone episode – or a Simpson’s episode. Just toss in a bit of The Craft, add a dash of Final Destination, just a touch of Hellraiser, all topped off with the slightest hint of A Nightmare on Elm St.
Wait, how can you get away with such derivative pap? Get it a PG-13 rating – no one under 20 has ever seen any of those things.
What they’ll see here is a cautionary tale about succumbing to your high school angst.
Clare (Joey King) is unpopular in that Hollywood sense – meaning she’s artistic, adorable and quirky, but the Barbie doll lookalikes and their gay friend inexplicably hate her. Her two besties (admirably played by Shannon Purser and Sydney Park) love her, though. Plus, she has an admirer in that cute skateboarder, Ryan (Ki Hong Lee – man is he saddled with some bad dialog).
But her dad (Ryan Phillippe) is a total embarrassment – even if he did find her this cool Chinese wishing pot. (This, PS, is the whitest movie about Chinese demons ever made.)
Luckily, director John R. Leonetti (Annabelle) has King to rely on. She’s likeable, generally believable, and she offers a compelling deterioration, post-wishing. (Because wishing + puzzle boxes + horror movies = bad idea.)
Leonetti, working from Barbara Marshall’s script, seems to be suggesting that you should just accept who you are, and that pining for something as superficial as popularity and wealth will literally kill you and everyone you love.
It’s not bad advice. Might be a little over-the-top.
Wish Upon is a bland if competently made screamer for the not-ready-for-R set. It’s a John Hughes movie with more carnage. It’s a Taylor Swift song with a body count.
It’s fine. Unless you like good movies.