Wish Upon

Dir John r leonetti, UK 2017 On UK re­lease from 28 July

Fortean Times - - Reviews / Films - Leyla Mikkelsen

In this teen hor­ror, out­sider Clare (Joey King) has not had an easy life since her mother com­mit­ted sui­cide when Clare was a lit­tle girl. With her grief-stricken fa­ther (Ryan Phillippe) re­sort­ing to scav­eng­ing all man­ner of dis­carded items to sus­tain them, Clare is par­tic­u­larly em­bar­rassed when her fa­ther’s line of work brings him near her high school; but then he finds some­thing in­ter­est­ing: a strange, or­nate box with Chi­nese writ­ing. It turns out that the box grants wishes. Clare asks for things that seem­ingly im­prove her life, but she soon be­gins to re­alise that her wishes are ful­filled at a ter­ri­fy­ing cost.

The trailer for left you feel­ing as if you are watch­ing the sales pitch for generic teen hor­ror #425, and the ac­tual film is just as un­der­whelm­ing and for­mu­laic as the trailer sug­gested. It pro­gresses ex­actly how you would ex­pect, and when the oblig­a­tory ex­po­si­tion over­load scene be­gins, you be­gin to nurse a wish of your own: that you would much rather be watch­ing a film about the ori­gins of the de­monic box than this bland high school hor­ror. The bland­ness is not only present in the story and struc­ture, but also ex­tends to the act­ing; the lead is not par­tic­u­larly con­vinc­ing, and it feels as if she has not re­ceived much di­rec­tion in how to prop­erly evoke the sig­nif­i­cantly emo­tional re­ac­tions some scenes are ob­vi­ously sup­posed to con­vey; the re­sults are rather cringe­wor­thy at times.

Not even the gore man­ages to be a re­deem­ing fac­tor, as the spe­cial ef­fects are ei­ther poorly ex­e­cuted, poorly filmed, poorly edited or a com­bi­na­tion of all three. Ul­ti­mately, Wish Upon is a deeply unim­pres­sive and generic hor­ror film that will leave fans happy to pay the ghastly price the film’s de­monic MacGuf­fin craves if it meant that they could watch some­thing bet­ter in­stead.

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