The whole purpose of this teen horror movie is to show creatively gruesome deaths. If you prefer your horror flicks with a dash of wit or suspense, look elsewhere. Rating: 1.5 stars out of 4.
Things I learned from the teen horror movie “Wish Upon”:
1) Do not operate kitchen sink disposal while wearing hair in extremely long, dangling braid.
2) Do not get overly attached to a dog, no matter how cute it is.
Movie Review ★½
‘‘Wish Upon,” with Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, Ki Hong Lee, Shannon Purser, Sydney Park, Sherilyn Fenn, Elisabeth Röhm, Mitchell Slaggert. Directed by John R. Leonetti, from a screenplay by Barbara Marshall. 89 minutes. Rated PG-13 for violent and disturbing images, thematic elements and language. Several theaters.
3) Do not, while in an emotional state, distract people who are perched on ladders using chain saws.
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4) When faced with irrefutable evidence that something you are doing is causing numerous people to die theatrically horrific deaths … stop doing that thing.
Much of this may sound like common sense, but not to the people who populate “Wish Upon,” most of whom seem to have the brains God gave Diet Coke. At the center of the story is teenage Clare (Joey King), raised by her single dad (Ryan Phillippe) after her mother’s suicide years ago. Dad, who is a smooth-jazz sax player and a hoarder and a man estranged from his wealthy uncle For Reasons Unknown (yes, this movie has a lot of random plot points, and I’m still pondering the sax part), finds an old music box covered in Mandarin inscriptions and brings it home to Clare. It is, we soon learn, a box that grants wishes — but each wish comes with a blood price. Like I said, don’t get too attached to that dog.
We figure this out long before Clare does (for that matter, I think my popcorn bag figured it out before Clare did), but that’s by design: The whole purpose of “Wish Upon” is to show us a series of creatively gruesome deaths. If that’s your jam, “Wish Upon” might have something for you; if you prefer your horror flicks with a dash of wit or suspense or, I don’t know, recognizable human behavior, look elsewhere. (I found myself mentally comparing this movie’s garbage-disposal death with that depicted in, I think, “Final Destination 2.” I have now, officially, seen too many movies.)
“That dog ain’t no fool,” said someone behind me at one point, in words that might make a decent subtitle for this movie. Pity the dog, in that regard, was alone.