Wish Upon, 2017

© Broad Green Pictures
© Orion Pictures

“When the music ends, the blood price is paid.”

Wish Upon has plenty of Final Destination-type kills, which it seems were put there to deflect harmlessly from the meteor-crash-site impact sized plot holes; the dog comes back to life but the BFF doesn’t. There’s also an aging Ryan Phillippe (coming back to life) and a cameo by Jerry O’Connell (Stand by Me, 1927?) to sidestep the glaring screenplay incongruities.

A film with teenagers at its center has a certain innate characteristic of how young girls and boys bargain with destiny, not realizing that destiny is not to be bargained with, but they’re teenagers and still learning that life is more of a nose-dive than a flight, a ride through the clouds. It is basically only a nose-dive and it is when the plummeting halts for some fuck for peace reason, the suspicion and foreboding of the mind is tricked into believing, heartlessly, that now that the plunge is no more, and that fate must be triumphant, simply must, as part of a predetermined state or end, and a beginning of the soaring of fortune. Especially when we have young people as part of the equation; trying to act upon the instructions of the director or the screenplay or both. Director John R. Leonetti (Annabelle, 2014) and Barbara Marshall (Viral, 2016; screenplay by) take it into their hands to adapt English author William Wymark Jacobs‘ 1902 publication, The Monkey’s Paw into a film, albeit with shallow performances and indifferent scares.

The film is not to be taken seriously (if it is being taken at all), as it is fundamentally flawed and will become objective viewing for after-midnight camp genre enthusiasts. For you see, despite the filmmakers ultimately not wanting to make a Final Destination-esque product, feverishly making cuts and revising the original draft, alterations that include a sequence where Carl (Kevin Hanchard)almost gets hit by a truck, which unintentionally cited Billy Hitchcock‘s death in Final Destination, however replacing it with kills that are neither shocking nor anything that we haven’t watched before, notwithstanding the fact that the filmmakers had to pull out scenes at the last minute, “straight out of their ass” or not.

WU_00871_R2 Joey King stars as Claire in WISH UPON, a Broad Green Pictures release. Credit: Broad Green Pictures

What would you do if fate gave you a chance to get back at that one person who has made your life a living hell? Well, you first show them The Box, 2009, and then ask them to pretend they’re Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella. Cronos, 1993 by Guillermo del Toro also comes to mind as one of the films being watched to prepare for this dud, this ladyfinger firecracker that fizzles off right after it is lit.
That could end up in the film becoming a little ambitious, if not inevitably, and also sincere; something that evidently does not come naturally to the viewers of Hunger Games and It Follows, 2014 and to the cast members of Wish Upon, who are unaware of the deadly consequences and keep hoping they somehow make it big, in a world where everything is getting big anyway.

However, the ending more than makes up for the not so dead dog, the not so rotten bully, the not so rich Clare, the not so suicidal Clare’s mom, Meredith‘s (Sydney Park) death in the elevator, like how it was in Dressed to Kill, 1980. It all happens (soul-sucking, cock-sucking, and what have you) suddenly and makes up for/mends the otherwise tedious horror feature. It happens so abruptly that I dragged the mouse pointer to the rating stars on IMDb and almost clicked a 7 on it, but good sense kicked in and here we are; same place, same time, different day. 


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