Friday, July 14, 2017

Wish Upon

Clare Shannon's life hasn't been the same since her mother died when she was a child. Her father is a hoarder who openly digs through other people's trash in public and most embarrassingly in front of her school. She has a small group of friends, but the popular kids won't stop bullying her. One day, her father brings her an ornate Chinese music box that won't open with ancient script all over it. All she can make out from her understanding of high school level Chinese is 7 wishes, so she wishes for her rival to rot. It comes true, but her dog dies on the same day. As she makes more and more wishes without reading the fine print, bodies pile up around her. Will she notice the gruesome payment for her wishes and will she have the willpower to stop?

I went into Wish Upon looking for a fun teen horror movie and it delivered imperfectly. Clare seems like a decent person at first. She's an artist with a small circle of friends, an embarrassing dad, and a few shallow bullies. Her friends were honestly more interesting than she was, especially Meredith, who doesn't back down ever and loves her Pokemon Go style ghost game to a fault. Overall, Clare's life isn't that bad, which makes it hard to sympathize with her once she starts making wishes. The first few could have been coincidences with her wish coming true and someone around her dying, but after while, she seems to be willfully blind to the effects in order to improve her life. One of the victims wasn't discovered until weeks later, which seems pretty unbelievable to me since she wasn't a recluse. Some wishes go great like being willed all of her dead uncle's estate, becoming popular at school, and her father becoming someone who doesn't embarrass her on a daily basis. Other wishes don't go so well like her crush becoming fully stalker level obsessed with her. Some of her wishes were so stupid even for a teenage girl, especially after she realizes that someone will die for it to come true. Her mood swings gave me whiplash as she wanted to throw it away one minute and then wanted to keep it even if she lost her friends the next minute.

The music box has a gorgeous exterior with ornate carvings in red and black with small circular mirror on the lid. The inside is equally beautiful with whirring gold mechanics and a carved gold demon under the lid. I wish the song it played was a little more memorable, but its dissonant chromatic melody creates tension and unease. It has a history of vastly improving people's lives through history, but all of them end in suicide. Its origin dates back a bubonic plague infection in 1919 China where a woman prayed 7 days and nights until a demon came to grand her wishes. Of course it's done the same ever since. I though it woud be culturally insensitive since this Chinese box is ruining this poor white girl's life, but the Chinese people who inform her about the box are refreshingly complex characters, even more than Clare. Ryan, a boy from her Chinese class, is adorable and quirky while his cousin Gina is an artist with a modern loft and colorful style. I was afraid that they would be wise and mystic stereotypes like in 80's movies like Gremlins and Big Trouble in Little China, but this was firmly avoided.

My main problems with the movie are in vapid Clare, who becomes increasingly hard to sympathize with as the movie goes on. Her dad isn't that bad. A few people at school don't like her and she's rich enough to have all the essentials plus a cute wardrobe, a nice bike, and a large amount of art supplies. Her "hoarder" dad had a cluttered house, but nowhere near the disgusting collection I was expecting to see like the Hoarders TV show. Another problem is in he people chosen to die by the music box. Why does Gina have to die when Clare knew her for less than a day? Why is a dog life equavalent to a human life? The people should have been closer to her instead of practically strangers, which would have had more impact as those characters were better written. The ending has all sorts of logical problems, but it was completely predictable and of course left open for a sequel. Overall, Wish Upon is a fine popcorn horror movie that delivered teen drama, decent PG-13 acceptable kills, and a creepy cool music box. I probably would see the sequel because Clare would no longer be the focus.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

1 comment:

Amy J said...

Click zmovie watch free movies online. Wish Upon (July 14)
A young girl (Joey King) discovers that a new music box will grant her every wish–albeit at a not-very-nice cost to others–in this horror film from Annabelle director John R. Leonetti.

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