Director: John R. Leonetti
Cast: Joey King, Ki Hong Lee, Ryan Phillippe
Release Date: October 10, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
After her father (Ryan Phillippe) presents her with a mysterious music box, Clare Shannon (Joey King) is surprised to find her every wish coming true. Her joy slowly morphs into terror as she begins to realize the bloody price of each new wish.
‘Wish Upon’ tells the haunting tale of teenager Clare (King) whose life takes a turn for the better after receiving a mysterious music box from her junk salvaging father (Phillippe) that claims it will grant her seven wishes. Initially hesitant, she soon discovers her life drastically turning around after being unable to resist trying the mystical box. But when those closest to her continue turning up dead in the most disturbing of circumstances she begins attempting to translate the additional writing on the box, fearing that her fortune may in fact be coming at the cost of those she holds dearest; yet even so, can she truly give up the box and risk returning to her somewhat painful life?
Directed by John R. Leonetti (Annabelle, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation) from a screenplay written by Barbara Marshall (Viral, TV’s Terra Nova), Leonetti does a solid job at the helm of ‘Wish Upon’ guiding this decent horror tale along with apparent ease. The film also includes a cast comprised of both some familiar faces and lesser known individuals including Joey King (Going in Style), Ki Hong Lee (The Maze Runner), Ryan Phillippe (TV’s Shooter), Sydney Park (TV’s Instant Mom), Elisabeth Rohm (Once Upon a Time in Venice), Sherilyn Fenn (TV’s Twin Peaks) and more, the majority delivering quite capable performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Wish Upon’ is a somewhat mixed bag of a horror film. It’s far from a downright terrible movie and provides some notable death sequences that can’t help but share some similarities with the always clever deaths in the ‘Final Destination’ franchise, and while those in ‘Wish Upon’ are usually far less gruesome in comparison to say the least, they still manage to be clever, fun and occasionally somewhat disturbing (especially in the unrated edition without the various cuts). The overall course of the story though does leave something to be desired and occasionally finds itself dragging or lingering too much on uninteresting elements that really don’t benefit the overall film or seem necessary. Fortunately it still manages to offer up a fairly enjoyable ride that’s smoothly guided along its course by director John R. Leonetti and additionally complimented by a capable cast that rarely disappoints. I do want to stress that the Director’s Unrated Cut of the film is definitely the superior version of the two. While only running approximately a minute longer, it offers some noticeable differences, particularly the full death sequences; the majority of which are at least somewhat trimmed down in the theatrical edition, likely in order to acquire that PG-13 rating. The film certainly doesn’t become a great deal more grisly or graphic with the cuts back in place, it merely allows the deaths (which are definitely one of the film’s most notable qualities) to play out a tad smoother and as intended which is always preferable. It’s by no means one of the finest horror offerings of late, but I would still urge fellow genre fans to at least try and give it a shot should the opportunity present itself. Chances are it will make a decent enough selection for an evening movie night, especially if you happen to come across it on your favorite streaming provider or another equally convenient method.
Overall, ‘Wish Upon’ is a fairly entertaining horror flick with some clever and fun death scenes and a general premise that while generic enough still allows for adequate entertainment. It certainly also has its faults and finds itself dragging at times or allowing many scenes to run what feels like longer than necessary. ‘Wish Upon’ is far from perfect, but it’s also a long way from terrible and for genre fans that can approach it with their expectations in check it should provide some bloody fun at the very least. I would recommend ‘Wish Upon’ to anyone that tends to appreciate a simplistic, entertaining but far from fantastic horror film that still delivers quite a bit of fun and some notable death sequences largely similar to those seen in the ‘Final Destination’ franchise. Chances are it will prove worth your time if a convenient opportunity to watch it arises although it’s probably not worth rushing out to get your hands on a copy immediately if you’re not already thoroughly interested in the movie to begin with.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Wish Upon’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation on both the director’s unrated cut and the theatrical version, each utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty great as a whole and delivers a sharp, detailed and clean presentation from start to finish that suffers no notable faults along the way. It holds up remarkably well even during the numerous darkly lit sequences and never allows anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation from Broad Green that should have no trouble satisfying both fans of the film and first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on both cuts of the film. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, crisp and fairly aggressive audio presentation throughout. It frequently takes advantage of all five available channels in order to immerse the viewer by sending eerie noises, crowd chatter, music and more throughout the various speakers when fitting, and always making certain that any dialogue or other simultaneously occurring audio elements remain clean and fully audible at all times. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that compliments the film nicely and offers a fairly active overall audio experience that shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Wish Upon’ includes a few brief extras. Included on the release are some short Featurettes that feature behind the scenes footage, interviews/comments with the cast and crew and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘I Wish’ (running approximately 3 minutes in length), ‘Attic Tour with Joey King’ (running approximately 2 minutes) and ‘Directing Darkness’ (approximately 3 minutes). Also included are ‘2 Motion Comics’: “Lu-Mei’s Curse” (approximately 2 minutes) and “Arthur Sands” (2 minutes).