Monday Movie! Wish Upon
This post will have literally ALL THE SPOILERS for Wish Upon. It’s actually more of a scathing, sarcastic synopsis than a review.
I’m not going to say this movie was horrible. But it definitely didn’t earn more than three out of five stars, and that’s being generous. It’s like if Final Destination and The Monkey’s Paw had a kid who became a total deadbeat who refuses to work and lives in his parents’ basement at age forty.
Admittedly, I came into the theater a few minutes late, so I missed the opening scene where Claire’s (the main character) mother Joanna kills herself about ten years in the past (in a later scene, Claire’s dad, Jonathan, muses that Joanna probably had a secret that was too heavy for her to handle. I’m sure that won’t come up later in the film). I came in just as Claire made it to school and was getting bullied by a Regina George rip-off named Darcie, while looking longingly at the Popularity King; this year’s model is named Paul.
Meanwhile, Jonathan, a notorious dumpster-diver, finds a Chinese music box and decides to give it to Claire, since she’s taking Chinese in high school. She knows just enough Mandarin to read “seven wishes” in the calligraphy, but nothing else. She dismisses it, then makes a half-serious joke about wishing that Darcie would “just rot.”
The next morning, Darcie gets necrotizing fasciitis, an honest-to-god real infection that kills the body’s soft tissue, effectively causing a living person to “rot.”
Not so coincidentally, Claire’s dog Max is found dead beneath the house.
Claire now knows that the box truly does grant wishes, but hasn’t yet made the connection between the wish and death. And because she’s a teenage girl, her next wishes are:
2 - having Paul fall “madly in love” with her (which causes the death of her rich Uncle August)
3 - inheriting everything August left behind (which causes the garbage-disposal death of a close family friend, Mrs. Deluca)
4 - for her dumpster-diving dad to “stop being so embarrassing” (which eventually leads to the death of…)
Claire asks her Chinese classmate, Ryan--the real love interest, being the halfway-decent male with sad doe eyes for our heroine--for help translating the rest of the box. They end up going to his cousin Gina, who studies ancient Chinese. She manages to translate most of the rest of the box: seven wishes, you have to be touching it, if you lose or sell the box all of the wishes come undone...she also finds out that the box’s original owner, a woman in the early 20th Century, made it magic by praying over it for seven days and seven nights, thus summoning a Chinese demon into the box. Fun fact: all of the woman’s enemies were vanquished, she became rich, and she died young via suicide.
There’s still one phrase left in the box they can’t figure out while Claire is oh-so-conveniently still in the room, so Gina takes a picture of it and sends it to her friend who might know.
Barely hours later, when Gina’s alone, she gets the translation. We only hear that “that’s messed up,” and she calls Ryan while freaking out about it. She’s then killed by tripping and falling head-first into the horn of a bull statue. (Death #4)
Wish #5: Claire wishes to become the most popular girl in school.
She’s immediately invited to a party and is the talk of the town. She also realizes that her shiny new boyfriend Paul is a total creep who’s been spying on her and taking pictures as she sleeps. In the first smart decision she’s made the whole movie, she dumps his ass.
Ryan finds Gina’s corpse. After some more research, he goes to Claire and tells her the translation: “When the music ends, the blood price is paid.” As an added bonus, after the seventh wish the demon comes to collect the wisher’s soul. He tells her about all the other box’s owners, all of whom had seemingly idyllic lives after finding the music box, only to have everyone around them die before they themselves either A) committed suicide, or B) were killed seemingly by accident.
Claire finally decides to tell her two BFFs June and Meredith about the box. They don’t take it seriously, although Meredith does take the time to scold her for being a selfish bitch (“If I had seven wishes, you know what I would do? I’d wish for world peace, I’d cure cancer…”) June suggests throwing the box away, but Claire still hangs onto it.
Later, during a scavenger hunt, the three go to a hotel. Meredith separates from the rest of the girls to play what looks like a much cooler version of Pokemon Go. At the same time, Jonathan is driving down a dark and windy road. The music box opens, and they’re both put in dangerous situations as Meredith’s elevator is stuck twenty stories up and Jonathan’s car threatens to squash him while he’s fixing the tire.
Who’s it gonna be? The father whose death would have the most emotional impact if he was the last to die rather than now, or the sceptical black friend? Hmmm…
As the coroners are taking Meredith’s body away, June declares the whole thing Claire’s fault and tearfully storms off. Claire goes to Ryan, and after a brief argument they attempt to destroy the box, only to find that it won’t burn or be smashed by a sledgehammer. She hides it away again, but the next day it goes missing.
Ryan is relieved, but it all unravels for Claire. She and her dad lose all the assets her uncle August left them, she goes from the school’s queen to the pariah, and Darcie’s back and bitchier than ever.
It turns out June stole the music box, stashing it in her locker to keep it out of the hands of her two little sisters. Claire takes a very Gollum-ish turn and fights June for it, ends up throwing her down the stairs, then threatens Ryan when he tries to take the box from her.
Claire returns home and uses her sixth wish to bring her mother back.
Joanna comes into her bedroom alive and well. And look, Claire has two little sisters that she’s overjoyed to have! That right there is enough to pull anyone still invested in this movie right out. There’s no way a seventeen-year-old would be thrilled to suddenly have two nine-year-olds invade her bedroom.
Jonathan’s happy, Joanna’s happy, it’s Claire’s birthday and she’s prompted to make a wish when she blows out the candles. Everything’s literally sunshine and roses.
So of course the next thing the Magic Box of Ironic Doom does is kill her dad.
Really, Claire? You didn’t see that coming? You bring back one parent, obviously the other one is out the door.
We also learn that (surprise!) Claire’s mother also had a run-in with the music box, and that was why she killed herself ten years ago.
That’s the last straw. Claire decides that if the music box can so completely warp reality as to rewrite the past, it can send her back in time (because that makes sense). She uses her final wish to go back to the morning her dad found the music box, and wakes up the morning of with her dog Max on her bed, her father getting ready to dumpster-dive, and her mother still dead as a doornail.
Everyone else is alive and well. Claire calls a grumpy, decaffeinated Meredith just to make sure, hugs her dad, talks to Ryan about Gina, etc. Even better: no siblings! Claire goes with her dad on the dumpster-dive, finds the box before he does, and hides it. At school, she goes to Ryan and asks him to get rid of it. After some awkward flirting, dinner plans, and a sporadic kiss, Claire skips off across the parking lot…
And gets run over by Darcie.
(Honestly, all I could think about was Mean Girls with Regina getting hit by a bus. It almost made me laugh.)
Was it worth the $5 movie ticket and ninety minutes to watch this? Yeah, I’d say so. But I wouldn’t go see it again. Not until we can get it for free in the “Meh” Movie Section of On Demand.
What were your thoughts on Wish Upon?
The first Dragons, Zombies and Aliens blog was started in 2015. Somewhere between college coursework, paying rent with door-to-door sales, and keeping up with my sorority sisters, I wrote reviews, rants and commentaries on books, TV shows, and movies. Now, this blog has moved, improved, and the sky's the limit!