Wish Upon (2017) Horror Movie Review with Ending Explained


The Review (Spoiler Free)

“Wish Upon,” directed by John R. Leonetti and released in 2017, is a supernatural horror film that delves into the age-old adage, “Be careful what you wish for.” The movie follows Clare Shannon, portrayed by Joey King, a teenager who discovers a mysterious music box that grants her seven wishes. As she uses the box to improve her life, the dark cost of each wish becomes apparent, leading to deadly consequences for those around her.

The film attempts to blend the horror genre with the teen drama but falls short in delivering a compelling narrative. The premise, while intriguing, is marred by a lack of originality and depth. The script, which landed on The Black List of most-liked unproduced screenplays, unfortunately, does not translate well on screen, leaving much to be desired in terms of character development and plot coherence.

The performances are adequate, with King delivering a believable portrayal of a troubled teen. However, the characters lack the necessary depth to evoke a strong connection with the audience. The dialogue often feels outdated, and the interactions between characters do not always resonate with the contemporary teenage experience.

From a horror perspective, “Wish Upon” struggles to elicit genuine scares. The film’s attempts at horror are predictable and lack the tension and suspense required to keep viewers on edge. The deaths, tied to the fulfillment of wishes, are elaborate but fail to create a sense of dread. Instead, they come across as contrived plot devices to move the story forward.

The film’s exploration of themes such as greed, consequence, and the value of true happiness is superficial at best. The moral implications of Clare’s actions are touched upon but not explored in a meaningful way, leaving the film feeling hollow in its message.

Visually, “Wish Upon” is competently shot, with a few visually striking moments. However, these are not enough to elevate the overall experience. The film’s reliance on clichés, particularly those related to the “mystery of the Far East,” feels dated and culturally insensitive, detracting from its potential to be a thought-provoking piece.

Ending Explained (Spoiler Warning!)

Early in the movie, we learn that Clare’s mother’s suicide is the pivotal twist of the story. The film also introduces the rules linked to the enigmatic box. The first rule states that with each wish Clare makes, a loved one or acquaintance dies, with her beloved dog being the first casualty. Ultimately, her closest friends and father become victims as well.

Another rule dictates that after seven wishes are fulfilled, the wisher will die. The twist reveals that Clare’s mother was the box’s former owner and her death was a consequence of using it. Despite knowing all seven wishes would lead to her own demise, Clare chose to keep the box, too enamored with her transformed life.

In the end, as those she loves die, Clare is haunted by their loss. Her final wish is to return to the day before she discovered the box. The story’s time travel element adds a unique layer, seemingly resetting everything and offering Clare a fresh start. However, the curse persists, and ultimately, the box claims her life.

In the Nutshell

“Wish Upon” is a film that had the potential to be an engaging horror flick but ultimately fails to deliver on its promise. It may find an audience among those who enjoy teen dramas with a horror twist, but for those seeking a truly chilling and original horror experience, it may be best to look elsewhere. The film serves as a reminder that a good concept requires equally strong execution to make a lasting impact on the genre. I give 3 out of 5 stars.

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Genre:  Teen Horror

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