‘Wish Upon’ is hilarious…and that’s the problem

Andy Moser

Ever wondered what Mean Girls would look like as a horror film? Well, wonder no longer.

Wish Upon is the newest effort from director John R. Leonetti (Insidious, Annabelle). It tells the story of Clare Shannon (Joey King), a teenage girl who is given a mysterious box by her father (Ryan Phillippe) years after her mother commits suicide.

The box allows Clare to wish for anything she wants, but those wishes come at a price (a price Clare doesn’t realize until long after any semi-intelligent human being would). She uses the box to target her bullies at school, make her crush fall in love with her and make her popular, among other things.

The biggest problem with Wish Upon is that it’s not scary in the slightest. In fact, it often plays like a comedy. Audiences will likely erupt with laughter at the numerous ridiculous ways death meets the characters, along with how unbelievably long it takes Clare to realize her new possession’s disastrous effects as she makes one poor, selfish decision after another.

The dialogue is nothing short of outrageous. Many of the things Clare and her high school friends say seem to have come from the mind of somebody who is very out of touch with today’s youth. The film’s laughable conversation is yet another thing that prevents anything in it from being even remotely frightening.

Wish Upon, probably written by your grandmother, displays one of the poorest scripts that audiences will suffer through this summer.

One bright spot, though, is Joey King, who does her absolute best with what she’s given. She probably should have wished for a decent script, perhaps one that didn’t feel the need to use the word “sauce” in every exclamation (one example being where Shannon Purser’s character refers to Clare’s dad as hot sauce).

The film truly wouldn’t have been terrible if it were actually aware of how bad it was and played off of that. Unfortunately, it thinks it’s interesting, clever and terrifying. The plot is Swiss cheese, and it aimlessly bounces from one implausible point to another. Its attempts to get people to care about Clare and her tragic circumstance are useless due to how inadvertently funny it is.

Wish Upon, as lazily constructed as it is, still entertains for all the wrong reasons. It may not put people to sleep, but it completely misfires as a horror movie, and it can only hope to be lucky enough to be played during “bad movie marathons” for years to come.

And if a scare-less, scattershot hour and a half wasn’t enough, it had to further punish its viewers with an after-credit teaser for a possible sequel. Let’s just hope it’s for the parody instead.

Sails: 1/5