Wish Upon review: a camp slumber-party classic

This giddy, deliberately daft horror is aimed squarely at recent ‘Goosebumps’ graduates

Careful what you wish for: Joey King in Wish Upon

Film Title: Wish Upon

Director: John R. Leonetti

Starring: Joey King, Ki Hong Lee, Sydney Park, Elisabeth Rohm, Ryan Phillippe, Sherilyn Fenn

Genre: Horror

Running Time: 90 min

Tue, Aug 1, 2017, 10:49

   

For those folks who are insisting upon the enduring appeal of the rebooted Twin Peaks, we have an answer to a burning question. Sherilyn Fenn can be found right here, as an early curse victim, in this, the 1,003,745th movie reformulation of WW Jacobs’ 1902 short story The Monkey’s Paw.

Genre fans know the score: Clare (The Conjuring star Joey King) is already traumatised by her mother’s suicide and her embarrassing dumpster-diving father (Ryan Phillippe), when dad gifts her a mysterious music box. The antique comes with seven wishes and possible dire consequences, according to an engraving in Chinese.

Following an incident with the resident high-school mean girl, Clare fails to join the dots when she wishes that her bully would rot, said tormentor develops necrotising fasciitis and Clare’s dog is devoured by rats, all in the same day.

Later, as audiences everywhere scream “look out behind you” in exasperation, she runs off when a friend explains, in no uncertain terms, that the box features the phrase “blood price”.

A dopey final girl is one thing, but try not to jeer and throw popcorn when Clare wishes for a less embarrassing dad only to cut to Ryan Philippe playing a cheesy saxophone solo.

Final Destination fans will be familiar with the genre mechanics wherein we cut from possible death (plugged-in hairdryer edges toward swimming pool) to possible death (elevator cable twinges), only to jump to actual death (an elephant falls on the victim’s head).

John R Leonetti (Annabelle, The Butterfly Effect 2) has fun with similarly structured set-ups. Don’t expect gore. Barbara Marshall’s giddy, deliberately daft screenplay is aimed squarely at recent – very recent – Goosebumps graduates. It won’t do much for grown-ups, but a camp slumber-party classic is born.