Review: 'Wish Upon' Starring Joey King & Ryan Phillippe

Imagine you are a high school outcast, constantly picked on and ridiculed. Other than a couple of friends, you are always overlooked by everyone – even by your popular jock crush. All of a sudden you are given the power of seven wishes, anything you can imagine. What would you wish for? Director John R. Leonetti (Annabelle) shows us what would happen to a high schooler given this power, and the consequences that may accompany these decisions, in his new thriller Wish Upon.

Wish Upon follows the story of Clare Shannon (Joey King) – a teenager who is being raised by her father Jonathan Shannon (Ryan Phillippe) after a tragedy befalls their family. This tragedy involves Clare’s mother Johanna Shannon (Elisabeth Röhm) and drastically alters the course of Clare and Jonathan’s lives. Jonathan has become a hoarder and dumpster diver, aimlessly coasting through life and constantly embarrassing Clare by digging through trash all over town. During one of these dumpster dives Jonathan comes across an antique music box that he gifts to Clare as an early birthday present.

The music box has Chinese characters all over it and luckily for us, Clare is taking Chinese in school and was able to translate the words “seven wishes” on the box. After a hard day getting bullied by Darcie Chapman (Josephine Langford), Clare hugs the music box and wishes for Darcie to just rot. This simple wish starts a chain of events that will change the lives of Clare and all the people closest to her. As Clare continues to make wish after wish and enjoy her new life, she begins to realize that there are consequences to her actions – but does that mean the consequences aren’t worth the rewards?

Wish Upon is an entertaining flick that reminded me of the Final Destination franchise. The music box manipulates situations to cause tragedy to occur, similar to that of ‘fate’ in Final Destination. Throughout the movie we see Clare deal with the repercussions of the agreement she made with the evil that controls the box, enlist different friends to try and solve the mystery that surrounds the box’s origin and power, and struggle to cope with the powers she has been gifted – all while trying to navigate the problems of an average high schooler. Joey King delivers an impressive performance, and successfully portrays a great range of emotion. From the highs of money and love to the lows of death and despair – King takes a hold of the role and situation and really draws the audience in. The rest of the cast has their moments, including a smooth jazz playing Ryan Phillippe and Clare’s wise-cracking friend Meredith (Sydney Park), but Joey King stood out.

Let’s be real here though – this is not the next The Silence of the Lambs or The Shining. Wish Upon is simply an entertaining summer horror movie and as long as expectations are kept in check, I think an enjoyable one at that. I can tell you one thing for sure.. next time you are in an antique store and hear that rhythmic song coming from a music box, you should turn around and leave before the sound of that last note.

3 out of 5 stars