Directed by: John R. Leonetti
“Wish Upon” is a psychological, paranormal horror that for me felt like a mindscrew “Donnie Darko” meets “Hellraiser”. Like the latter, it’s also a cursed object story, and a movie of this kind very nice to watch now and then.
Personally, I think I’ll give credit to it as being one of the first horror movies based on the multiverse theory I watched.
I personally don’t believe in the multiverse and infinite timelines idea. Still, we can’t deny that’s amusing and food for thought if you believe in that kind of thing.
I loved this movie, but I was very disappointed by how Netflix pigeon-holed it in one of its invented horror sub-genres. I’ll elaborate on this below.
A girl, Clare (Joey King), lives with her scavenging father (Ryan Phillippe). The father finds a cursed object in one of his scavenging runs. He takes the cursed box home and gives it as a present to his daughter.
Repeatedly using the thing to fulfill all her wishes, and becoming something that she wasn’t before (popular in school), Clare puts herself in a mess of multiversal proportions.
The cast plays a group of teenagers and I think there’s something about young actors that makes a movie special. I don’t know what, I have to think more about this. The young actors playing the unlikable gang with whom the lead interacts portray a believable high-school toxic clique.
The characterization of her love interest (Ki Hong Lee) is spot on. The skater boy he plays may appear kind of generic, but the clothes are right and that helps with believability.
Ultimately, I think is just laughable of them to call it that. Very unintelligent.
I wanted to point this out because other than that shortsighted classification by Netflix, this is a damn fine horror movie.
The logic of the story is very nicely executed and I liked the script in general. It’s more movies like this that a horror-watching audience wants to see.
This movie is one of those stories with a big “what if” that is expressed in a way that gives great opportunities to incorporate horror esthetics. And then, not wasting those opportunities like this movie does.
Still, I think that labeling this movie with an invented Netflix genre is backward because for me this one was better than many other horror movies I watched on Netflix that aren’t labeled that. It has unnerving and had very creepy moments indeed.
The subtext of this movie I think has to do with addiction and its hellish consequences. The wish-granting box grants you its wishes, but it exacts payments in blood. Of course, that, even if its narrative is informed by “Hellraiser”, this movie is not as crude and its themes are not as mature as the ones in “Hellraiser”.
And yet, that fact is not a reason for Netflix to catalog a fine horror movie like this one as “Teen Screams”. I don’t think it’s right, especially for adults watching it. Some may feel their intelligence insulted.
If you don’t like gimmicky horrors or a movie that advertises itself as something bland, and then it’s a boorish horror tale, then don’t watch it.
If you find it on Netflix and the genre “Teen Screams” puts you off, don’t pay it any attention. I endorse it as being an above-average horror movie.
Those that love the multiverse theme should by all means watch this movie. Like I wrote at the beginning, it has a lot of “Donnie Darko” but is not as hard to understand as that movie.
Watch WISH UPON