Sunday, July 16, 2017

Movie Review: "Wish Upon" (2017)

Director: John R. Leonetti
Year: 2017
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

A high school girl is gifted a Chinese wishing box by her father, who found it in the trash. This mysterious box gives her seven wishes, but every wish she makes has fatal consequences.

"Wish Upon" is directed by John R. Leonetti, who is famous for unleashing the horrible movies "Annabelle," "The Butterfly Effect 2," and "Mortal Komabt: Annihilation" upon the world. It stars Joey King as Clare, an outcast high school student. Clare gets a magical Chinese wishing box from her father, played Ryan Phillippe, as an early birthday gift. Of course, her father didn't know it was a wishing box, he just thought it was a cool little trinket he found in the trash because apparently, that's his job??? This box has a little caveat: every time Clare makes one of her seven wishes, someone dies, but damn if she doesn't keep on wishin' anyway! Also in the movie are Ki Hong Lee, Shannon Purser, and Sydney Park, as well as several others.

PG-13 rated horror movies have been a huge deal ever since that rating system got put in place. In the last decade plus, however, we've seen Hollywood gravitate towards them more frequently for several reasons. PG-13 horror films are usually made for very, very cheap, they have B-to-D-list stars in them (ones who don't come with big flashy budgets), and they almost always make their money back and then some. Very few of these projects are also critical successes, like 2015's "The Visit," which cost $5 million to make and took in around $98 million worldwide. Unfortunately, this mentality also applies to terrible, awful, bottom of the barrel crap movies like 2015's "The Gallows," which only cost $2 million to make and made $42 million worldwide, as well as the first "Ouija" movie from 2014, which cost $5 million to make and went on to make a whopping, unbelievable, unnecessary $100 million worldwide. Now, we have "Wish Upon" to add to the shitpile.

This film is very reminiscent of the old short story "The Monkey's Paw," which pretty much has the same exact plot. People make wishes that come true but those wishes have dire consequences. Most people are probably familiar with this story because "The Simpsons did it" in their "Treehouse of Horror II," which adapted this short for one of its segments in 1991. In addition, many have said this and we will say it as well. All of the deaths that happen in "Wish Upon" are essentially overt, sanitized ripoffs of the ones that happen in "Final Destination." They always occur by some elaborate accident caused by some unforeseen force. The main difference is, unlike "Final Destination," which is super bloody, almost all of the deaths in "Wish Upon" occur just off screen after a quick cutaway because it has to keeps its ~*oh so necessary~* PG-13 rating. Come on, they wouldn't want their movie to actually be good anything!

The acting in this movie is horrible. Not one person puts on a good performance, even a seasoned actor like Phillippe. Honestly, this has a lot to do with the atrocious writing. Every character is written to be a complete caricature and no one is believable, but really, what did we expect from a script with lines like, "I was just trying to think of somethin' dope to say before I kissed you," and "you dad is hot sauce, like, sriracha hot sauce." Jesus jumped up Christ, was this movie written by a 13-year-old girl?

We have a hunch nothing will top "The Bye Bye Man" for the #1 worst horror movie of 2017, but "Wish Upon" comes pretty damn close. For the first 25 or so minutes, it's nothing more than an asinine, boring teenage fantasy with a couple of jump scares thrown in so it could be classified as a horror. Therein lies the biggest problem: this movie just isn't scary. In fact, it's nowhere near the realm of scary. There are only one or two gross-out moments, and beyond that, as we mentioned, all there is is an occasional, ineffective, unnecessary, and unrelatable jump scare. It's very cliche, and even includes an exposition lady who tells the audience everything they need to know about this cursed object. Is there a bigger horror trope than the mysterious exposition person? 

We tried really, really hard to forgive the sins "Wish Upon" committed early on, but after seeing no scares, no tension, no thrills, a minute amount of  blood, an overabundance of silliness, ten thousand horror movie cliches, and far too many saxophones solos in the night throw at us for 90 minutes in a completely empty theater, we just couldn't do it to ourselves anymore, and neither should you. At least we got to "Mystery Science Theater 3000" the hell out of this movie in our own "private screening," which was the only thing keeping us in the cinema.

My Rating: 2/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Rating: 4.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 23%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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