Movie Review: Wish Upon (2017)

Synopsis: Roughly 12 years after witnessing her mother's suicide, 17-year-old Clare Shannon is a depressed, bullied high school student who is embarrassed by her dumpster-diving dad. When her dad brings her home a mysterious music box with ancient Chinese symbols on it, Clare discovers it can grant her seven wishes. However, she soon learns each wish is paid for with the life of someone close to her.

Who's in it? The movie stars Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, Ki Hong Lee, Mitchell Slaggert and Shannon Purser.

Review: I came across this movie a few weeks ago and added it to my library for a rainy day. It seemed like an OK choice for our family movie night last night, even though I was concerned it would be predictable and dull. Overall, I have to say the movie exceeded expectations.

I think the thing I found I liked most about this film was Clare (King). At first, she seemed like a kind person who would want to do the right thing, such as not making a wish if she knew it would result in someone losing their life. So, it was kind of an interesting twist to see her become obsessed with the box, both determined to keep the wishes she already made and continuing to make more wishes even as things went horribly wrong, and she understood the consequences. By the end of the movie, I wasn't sure if I should consider her the protagonist or the villain.

This, in turn, made the movie a lot less predictable than I was expecting it to be. This was both because of Clare's unpredictable behavior and the way her wishes seemed to backfire at times, adding an additional wildcard element to the film.

I did think the movie had room to add some more runtime and maybe flesh things out a bit more. A lot of the music box's victims were barely introduced before they died, making it hard to understand how much of an impact their deaths would have on Clare (and I still think she got over her dog's death awful quick).

There were also a lot of things in the movie that felt like they needed more of an attempt to add an explanation. For example, at one point in the movie, it is hinted Clare's mom (Elisabeth Röhm) might have possessed the box prior to her suicide but there's nothing in this movie to indicate what her mom would have wished for. The movie also doesn't attempt to explain why Clare's uncle (Victor Sutton) disowned her and her dad or her dad's (Phillippe) obsession with digging through dumpsters, is it something he does for money or is he just a hoarder? Details like that would have made the movie seem a bit more complete.

Final Opinion: It's not a perfect movie but overall, I did think it was an entertaining film and we enjoyed watching it.

My Grade: B


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