“WISH UPON” is coming to Blu-ray on October 10th just in time for Halloween. It is packaged with an additional Director’s Unrated Cut as well as a collection of special-features. I didn’t see this film in theaters and I watched the unrated cut of the film which is the version that will be reviewed, as opposed to the PG-13 theatrical cut.
This story follows high-schooler Clare (Joey King) who doesn’t quite fit in with the ‘cool crowd’ and despite her efforts to move on, is still struggling with the loss of her mother from a suicide that happened at an early age. She lives with her father Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe) who is dealing with the loss in his own ways. He’s a junk collector and one day he brings home an ornate box he found to give as a gift for his daughter. Something that will prove to be a mistake when this box is shown to have special powers that grants the owner of it their wishes. But Clare will learn that using the powers this mysterious box possesses will have deadly repercussions.
The premise is interesting and the concepts it weaves could translate in to a very tense film. This one more so uses the plot to fuel a routine teenage horror/thriller that in the end was not all bad. Sure, it goes through a lot of the common genre tropes and you can predict where the story will go at times. Certain scenes do telegraph who the next victim will be but it was not a terrible film. It was honestly more of a b-movie than it was something worthy of a wide theatrical release. But there is some entertainment to be found if you are a fan of straight-to-video or teen themed horror films.
Joey King and Ryan Phillippe turn out to be great assets to this story as their performances and chemistry create some characters you can connect with. Something the writing itself did not really create with its development. Because of the performances you can buy into their personas and they feel like a father and daughter both trying to keep a bond while grieving for the loss of their wife and mother. The development of their characters was a little on the routine side but King and Phillippe do help elevate things to a level that can engage some interest.
The story-line keeps a quick pace and does deliver some suspenseful moments that were enjoyable. Sections of the film did a great job of exploring the concept of this box that can grant wishes at a cost. But there were other segments where it felt a little routine with a feeling it was going through the formulaic motions. There were some fun techniques taken to how some of the characters get killed off but there were others that felt overly familiar if you have seen many films like this.
Overall though it is not a bad watch. It has some enjoyable moments and solid performances. However, it does suffer from some lack of ambition in certain areas that could have brought everything together with much more impact. As it is, the film does appeal to a younger demographic that can relate to the main characters. An older viewer will connect more with Phillippe’s character and from that aspect there was not much to grasp onto. The story is enough to pass the time through some of the genre tropes and the writing is solid at in certain instances. The characters are not overblown and unable to relate with, and it results in a decent teenage horror/thriller that is not going to blow you away. But won’t make you feel like time was wasted watching.
Now let’s cover what this Blu-ray release offers in terms of the special-features included with the Director’s Unrated Cut.
I Wish: The Cast Share What They Would Wish
This was a rather routine featurette in terms of bonus-material. The segment is a handful of minutes long and explores the main concept of the plot. A music box that can grant you your wishes. The cast talk about what some of their wishes would be and the commentary is amusing as they all have different mindsets behind their wishes. It is a well-edited segment that includes all the main cast members and overlays it with some film-footage as well as some behind-the-scenes material which is always fun in giving the viewer a different look at the movie-making process.
Attic Tour with Joey King
Lead actress Joey King hosts this short segment focusing on the main set of the film, the attic that the main characters mother took her life in. It delivers a nice quick-time sequence of the attic set being constructed and then transitions to King leading the viewer inside the completed set. King talks shortly about the artistic aspect of the characters and the paintings that were left behind by Clare’s mother. As well as how King enjoyed playing a character that painted being that the character of Clare followed in her mom’s footsteps as an artist.
Directing Darkness: John Leonetti and Cast Talk About Developing a Horror Film
A relatively standard featurette, this segment explores the process of making this film from a variety of aspects. The film’s director John R. Leonetti talks about his mindset for the film overall and its appearance and mood as a genre film. There is also plenty of commentary from the cast and other crew members that all add some input into the concepts the film explores. There is a nice overlay of the filming process throughout the segment as well as some final film-footage that weave together to create and common, but informative look at this film from the other side of the lens.
Motion Comics: Lu Mei’s Curse and Arthur Sands Reveal the Stories Behind the Previous Owners of The Box
Probably my favorite of the special-features in this Blu-ray package were these two short motion comics. “Chapter One” followed Lu Mei and the origins of the mysterious box. The narrative explores how her life fell apart as a result of the box being in her possession leading up to her inevitable demise. The next comic, “Chapter Two” tells the story of Arthur Sands an airman in WWII that comes across the box and brings it back to the states. A decision that will change his life forever as the box unleashes its prosperity as well as its dark power over his life, and the lives of those around him.
These two segments were very entertaining. They are brief but artistic and provide intriguing prequel-like stories to this film. The artwork is visually appealing with a charcoal pencil texturing to it and washed out colors similar to watercolor paint or pastels. The design in simple but the detail in the art pull the eye in as the narrative swiftly captures a long lifespan in a very short time which does add some substance to the main film as far as backdrop.