** out of 5
Rated PG-13 for violent and disturbing images, thematic elements and language
Broad Green Pictures
Article first published at TheReelPlace.com
Horror movies can get away with a lot when they’re fun. I’ll be the first to admit, the Final Destination franchise is one of the dumbest out there, but they are such a good time, who cares? In the case of Wish Upon, it descends into a level of so-bad-it’s-good hilarity, something I’m sure director John R. Leonetti (Annabelle) and screenwriter Barbara Marshall did not intend. And speaking of Final Destination, Wish Upon is sadly just a bad PG-13 rated carbon copy of those films. Something no one wants, nor would ever wish for.
For teenage Clare (Joey King), high school is a bitch. Still having nightmares over her mom’s (Elisabeth Röhm) suicide 12 years ago, she makes it through the day thanks to a little help from her friends June (Shannon Purser) and Meredith (Sydney Park). It doesn’t help that her deadbeat dad Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe) keeps dumpster diving across the street from her high school. One day, while Jonathan is out scavenging, he comes across a sealed box covered in Chinese writing and brings it home to Clare. What Clare soon discovers is that the box makes her wishes come true, but doesn’t realize until it’s too late that they are granted with dire consequences.
I wish I could I could say that the unintentional hilarity was reason enough to bare witness to Wish Upon in theaters, but this is a spectacular case of a film that should have gone direct-to-video. Marshall’s screenplay feels extremely outdated. Every death is laughably executed making Leonetti’s Annabelle look Oscar worthy. This is far funnier than Baywatch. The acting is mediocre at best. Except Phillippe, who completely steals the show as Sax Dad. That may be worth the price of admission alone — along with the very last scene. I dare you not to laugh out loud.
Wish Upon is a disaster from start to finish. It may not be bad enough to wish upon your worst enemy, but it’s not worth trekking out to see in theaters. However, I can see it winding up being a favorite among teen girls gathering at slumber parties to yell at the screen. Faint praise at best, but it is unintentionally hilarious enough it could wind up being a new cult classic. Now that’s a scary thought!