Rated: PG-13 for violent and disturbing images, thematic elements and language. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: July 14, 2017 Released by: Broad Green Pictures
Joey King ( White House Down) is the center of action in Wish Upon, when she picks up a magical box from trash. It has a message in Chinese which grants seven wishes, but takes blood from someone each time a wish is granted. Following the last wish the wisher is projected to die.
The script places the box in Clare's (King) hands when she accompanies her father (Ryan Phillippe) on his rounds as a trash scavenger. He rescues what might be good from other peoples trash and dumpsters.
Claire begins the story as a not so popular teen in high school. She has two friends June (Shannon Purser) and Meredith (Sydney Park) they hang together and have distain for the popular students particularly the other girls.
By accident Clair learns she has the power to change her life through wishes. Initially it all works well (someone pays) but she becomes popular, has a fancy large house and a great car. Over time she learns the power of the box and the deaths it extracts while granting her wishes.
The history fill in reaches back to the early 1920's to a young Chinese woman who uses the box to gain power, recognition and wealth until she suddenly dies. The box works its way to the United States and the owner gains everything and then looses his entire family and his life. How the box gets in the trash in Clair's home town is not initially clear, but we eventually learn the American owner lived near her opulent home.
Watching Wish Upon we can't help thinking of Carrie and the series of Final Destination films. From Carrie we have the heroins ability to inflect harm on those who have hurt her in the past and she works at that. From Final Destination we know there will be seven deaths after the seven wishes.
So with all that potential for mayhem director, John R. Leonetti presents a rather drab un-frightening presentation. Each of the deaths are predictable but never as devious or horrible as the Final Destination. An example is Mrs. Deluca (Sherilyn Feen) who is slaughter by a garbage disposal, but not a bloody sucking of her hand in the mechanics of the device, only her hair goes in and it somehow hangs her up for Clair to find days latter hanging from the kitchen sink. Nothing like the tanning machine in the Destination series. Even the nasty rash on her enemy at school, it looks bad but it's not exciting.
Wish Upon doesn't give us our wish for an effective terror or horror film.