If you’re hoping that “Wish Upon” is a classic horror movie with chills, thrills, shocking twists and buckets of blood — wish again.
This is possibly the most pedestrian horror movie I’ve ever seen. The PG-13 rating ensures there won’t be lots of gore or shocking, horrific deaths, but who wants to watch an antiseptic horror film? And sure, you can make up for the lack of gruesomeness with a creepy, compelling story — but “Wish Upon” doesn’t have that either.
Joey King stars as Clare Shannon, who sits at the bottom of the high school social order with her two friends. Her mother is dead, her father is an embarrassment.
One day while dumpster diving, dad (Ryan Phillippe) finds an antique Chinese music box, which he brings home to Clare. She can’t open it, and the only thing she can make out are the words “Seven Wishes.” Her first wish, since she’s a sweetheart of a girl, is that the most popular girl in school “go rot.”
The next day Miss Popular winds up in the hospital with a flesh-eating virus. At the same time Clare’s beloved dog dies. Coincidences? Maybe. But after a second wish comes true, Clare begins to believe.
Now a sympathetic character, upon realizing what’s going on, would’ve used her next wish to reverse the first wish, and maybe wish for world peace or a new president. Instead, Clare wishes for popularity, a boyfriend, and that her dad not be such a loser. Concurrently, bad things — like dying horribly — are happening to people around her.
With help from a potential love interest, Clare learns the rules: Every wish must be paid off with a blood debt; everything will go back to normal if you get rid of the box; if you complete seven wishes you will die.
Now the audience has figured this out long before Clare has. And the audience would not proceed to do any of the stupid things that Clare does. The movie plods its way to its inevitable ending and you’re left thinking “I wish I had gone to ‘War for the Planet of the Apes.”
In addition to being totally predictable and toothless, the film suffers for not having any characters you can root for. Clare makes so many bad choices you can’t feel sorry for her and her best friend is so obnoxious you can’t wait for her to get what’s coming to her.
Now that I think about it, teenagers may really like this.