Is 'Wish Upon' the mid-summer horror film we've been waiting for?

Posted July 18

THE MOVIE THEATER — If you were wondering when Hollywood was going to finally make a horror movie with that little girl from “Ramona and Beezus” featuring playing saxophone for Barb from “Stranger Things,” I have some great news that it has happened! However, if you are wondering if this movie is any good, you may have already experienced the best part of your day.

This week we finally get to see Hollywood's newest horror film, “Wish Upon.” The setup for “Wish Upon” follows your basic Hollywood paint-by-numbers plot for a horror film. An outsider high school kid is granted seven wishes, with which she proceeds to wish for everything you could guess an insecure high school kid might wish for, never considering a single consequence. With a very predictable story arc and weak payoff at the end, there were very few things that made this film not horrible to watch.

Here are some of the goods and bads to consider before going to “Wish Upon:”


Barb from “Stranger Things”

Even though she isn’t in the film for very long and she doesn't do a good job when she is, it was nice to see Barb (Shannon Purser), everyone's favorite underdeveloped character from Netflix’s “Stranger Things” show up again for a few minutes on the big screen.

Unintentional social commentary

It is in no way clear that this film was meant as a social commentary, but I’m stretching here for something positive to say. I was struck about halfway through the film that there may be a lesson to be learned. This is a film based on the idea that nothing comes without consequence. Too often we see the good fortune or apparent good fortune of others and wish it were ours. What we don’t see are the prices paid (positive or negative) for that good fortune.

“Wish Upon” inadvertently does a good job showing us that there are no short cuts for lasting happiness and it is far better to determine the path for your own happiness, rather than letting a mythological Chinese demon decide that for you.


Lazy horror

There was very little in the attempt to mask “Wish Upon” as anything more than a poor ripoff of other movie franchises and teen angst movies. The film creates some absurd scenarios with which to kill off characters throughout the film, and ultimately all you can think about is how “Final Destination” did it better.

Clichéd to the max

I can’t currently think of a worse example of an over dramatic example of clichéd high school drama. All the ingredients are there — popular mean girls, misunderstood hero, sassy best friend, former teen heartthrob now-turned-dorky dad all revolving around the big high school dance. This is a personal gripe on my part for teenage high school movies in general, but it was bad enough that it made this already struggling movie worse.

Unclear self-awareness

It was hard to tell if this movie was taking itself seriously or if it knew it was not very good. There were some genuinely funny parts in the film that only made sense if the filmmakers knew the movie wasn't that good. Other times, it felt like they were convinced this was a sincerely scary movie and were treating it seriously. In the end, it felt confused and all over the place, never being really scary or fun.


“Wish Upon” does not hold up on any level as an entertaining movie. Normally with movies that aren’t great but that have some entertainment value, I would suggest going on a night when you can’t find something better to do; however, in this case, I can’t even recommend that.


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