By Victoria Alexander, Film Critic

Las Vegas Informer

John R. Leonetti directs without giving any thrills.

Have you been missing the FINAL DESTINATION franchise? Still insist on reliving your high school days? Furious that wishes never come true?

Then WISH UPON is the perfect summer movie for you.

The Monkey’s Paw updated – once again? 17 year-old Clare Shannon (Joey King) witnessed her mother’s (Elizabeth Rohm) suicide as a 7 year-old and has been brought up by her junk collector father,  Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe). Of course, with the house gone to ruin and a father around town looking through dumpsters, Clare is not the most popular girl in school. She’s the outsider but luckily, she has two best friends, Meredith McNeil (Sydney Park) and June Acosta (Shannon Purser).

Clare really wants to be part of the “in” crowd which is ruled  over by Darcie (Josephine Langford). However, when Darcie slaps her, Clare slaps her right back with more than adequate force. Way to go girl!

Paul Middlebrook (Mitchell Slaggert), the guy Clare has had a crush on since kindergarten, still hasn’t noticed her. He’s dating Lola (Daniela Barbosa), one of Meredith’s squad.

One day Clare’s father brings home a music box covered with ancient Chinese characters. Clare’s high school is one of the new, progressive types and Clare is studying Mandarin. She can only make out the inscription that translates into “7 wishes.”

Clare immediately ignores the Chinese characters she cannot read and wishes Darcie “rot.” The next day Darcie wakes up with her feet rotting away. Darcie will be able to have her very own Brundlefly Museum of Natural History.

I know exactly how Clare feels. I’m always pleading and making offerings at my Exu altar for success with my curses. Where would Mankind be if we didn’t have faith in our beliefs?

A friend of Clare’s mysteriously dies a rather horrible death. Clare continues to make wishes and with each wish comes an unusual death of someone Clare knows. By Wish 5, Clare starts to think there might be a connection. She has a school friend,  Ryan (Ki Hong Lee), take her to his sister who is a Mandarin expert and she translates most of the inscription.

Clare now knows the rules. However, she doesn’t bother to write them down, memorize them or even remember them.

The warning is not to abandon the music box, attempt to destroy it or give it away. Best friends Meredith and June keep telling Clare to throw it away.

Screenwriter Barbara Marshall has written a screenplay that checks off all the necessary tropes. Yet, wouldn’t it be more interesting if Clare had planned out the seven wishes for intentional cruelty instead of using a wish to become the most popular girl at school? What if Clare was smart enough to try to outwit the music box? What would the movie be like if Darcie had been given the music box? 

John R. Leonetti directs without giving any thrills.

Victoria Alexander

Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org/.

Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at victoria.alexander.lv@gmail.com. 

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