Teenagers love scary movies, even the bad ones. It’s hard to go to a horror movie nowadays without noticing that a majority of the audience seems to be 20 or under, and a good portion of that even much younger. Now that I think of it, I was probably one of them back in the day, since I’ve been a horror aficionado/gore-hound for as long as I can remember. It’s no surprise, then, that the folks behind the ill-fated teen-centered horror flick ‘Wish Upon’ believe they had a built-in audience for their movie. Well, they were dead (excuse the pun) wrong.
‘Wish Upon’ recycles the well-worn tropes of the “101 ways to die” ‘Final Destination’ franchise, providing it with a new twist by replacing the Grim Reaper with an evil octagonal Chinese demon box. This weird and somewhat creepy music box, as the movie’s young protagonist Clare (Joey King) discovers, can fulfill all her adolescent dreams, such as literally causing the mean girl tormenting her in high school to rot and making the boy whom she secretly crushes on dump his hotter girlfriend and fall for her. However, every wish has a price and Clare comes to the belated realization that her shallow and selfish desires are better left unfulfilled as they could very well consign her soul to damnation.
‘Wish Upon’ is a dumbed-down ‘The Box’ without the moral dilemma or surreal artsy trappings, a horror-lite clearly aimed at the 25-and-under demographic. It’s a rather vacuous and gimmicky movie, but hardly an unexpected one considering such films’ relatively low budget. I’m sure its disappointment at the BO will not discourage producers from making similar movies in the future, but I will have to try a bit harder steering clear of them though I fear I may not be able to resist ‘Happy Death Day.’ I’m so easy.