WISH UPON *** USA / Canada 2017 Dir: John R. Leonetti 90 mins
In this contemporary take on “The Monkey’s Paw” from the director of ANNABELLE and WOLVES AT THE DOOR, boyfriend-less, motherless teen Joey King acquires a Chinese music box offering seven wishes. Naturally, she uses the first wish to strike down the school bitch with a flesh-eating disease, so she can be mocked via pictures of her skin rotting off on social media.
Unfortunately, every time a wish is fulfilled a “blood price” is paid, which means someone close to her will be dragged hair-first into a waste disposal unit. King’s appealing performance is at the heart of a movie that builds breezily to a sequence of FINAL DESTINATION-style creative death scenes and has fun with fake-outs, notably an amusing contrivance involving a chainsaw. For those nostalgic about the 1990’s, it’s diverting to see the likes of Sherilyn Fenn, Ryan Phillippe (now playing Dad roles!), Elizabeth Rohm and even Jerry O’Connell in supporting roles. The soundtrack is horribly generic, but the movie stays true to its own concept with an impressively sour and well-staged shock ending. A shame the studio went for a PG-13 rating, neutering all the horrific moments; much needed punch is restored to the “Unrated” version available on some DVD releases.
Review by Steven West