I wish I may, I wish I might, make a demand that might cost someone’s life? That’s not the way the rhyme goes, but this parody is pretty representative of the theme of my latest review. Robbie K here, this time covering Wish Upon the latest horror genre flick to flood the silver screens across the country. The “disturbing” trailers paint the picture of the next spine tingling film, but the PG-13 rating suggests it could be a little timid. What’s the verdict? Hopefully I can fill in some answers to help answer that question. Let’s get started!
Shorter Run Time: I know what you’re thinking, not good if this is a like, but it’s nice to see a movie stick around the 90-minute run time when there isn’t sustenance to keep it running longer. Wish Upon fills its short run-time purpose with the thrills you want, and keeps it concise, a sign of good directing and editing in an era what that so suffers.
Joey King: Singling out the actors in this rather new actor cast, Joey King reprises her horror acting in a “two thumbs up” manner. King plays the role of a distressed teenager with class, bringing a delicate balance of drama, screaming, and shallow happiness to the character. In many PG-13 or teenager focused films, the lead character often suffers from overacting or extreme tangents in directing. For me, King was able to keep things in good proportions and didn’t have me rolling my eyes (a first in a long time.) While certainly not an award-winning performance, King gets props for carrying the load of the movie.
A Nice tangent: Despite the common trend of demons, spirits, and ghosts… Wish Upon at least brings a slight twist to the themes of horror movies. The wishing factor is a nice gimmick to get sold onto and see what desires will tempt her to risk lives. It set a nice pace for the movie to build upon, and made it a little dynamic in regards to whom would pay the blood price for Clare’s (King) decisions and selfishness. The wish factor also presented some character development, shallower but existing, that really worked in their favor.
Not overly graphic: A PG-13 horror movie is often a lot lax in their grim depictions of death. Wish Upon continues that trend, forgoing gross, exaggerated, drawn out torturous deaths in favor of ridiculous, and still horrible, deaths that are quickly executed. One can think of this as Final Destination meets Unfriended, which boils down to coincidental deaths with a filter. Unfortunately, it means you have seen a majority of the executions via the commercials, but you will get a few sequences that have escaped the public eye up until now.
Very simplistic: Despite the deaths being filtered and less intense, they were also very simplistic and not as impressive. Yes, they were still awful (as death is), but the hype up of the trailers was sadly dropped with the simplicity of the deaths. There was no extra edge factor to them, and the lack of suspense, which left the ridiculous nature of the deaths the eye-rolling component of the film. If you want the mindless, over the top deaths without the blood… well your wish has been granted I guess.
Story: Wish Upon’s tale has some decent character development in it to highlight the underlying theme of the horror movie. It was great seeing Clare’s transitions and her attempt to find the solution to the curse kept in the box. However, outside of that, the story tanks. It’s the same predictable mess that most of this genre is, with little sustenance so that they could cram more deaths into the movie. The cool wish concept brought about a lot of potential to interact with the entity, as well as opportunities for a more suspenseful uncovering of the source of the evil. I would have liked to see what the creature looked like, or at least more interaction with the invisible evil that dwelled within. Other plot elements could have been a little more detailed in the delivery as well, to add the emotional impact I think they wanted.
Wish Upon isn’t the worst movie to grace the theaters. This PG-13 movie brings a unique angle to a stale concept that is concise, decently acted, and not overly graphic. Unfortunately, the execution is still in need of work on a variety of areas. A lackluster story that was underdeveloped and the lack of suspense are two key areas the potential sequel can bring to the table. As for this film though, if you aren’t looking for a filtered death movie, you might skip this until haunts Netflix. For those looking for a simplistic horror film though… you’ve got a ringer in the theaters this summer. One thing is certain though…be careful what you wish for.
Movie Overall: 4.0