This isn’t typically what I do for Trailer Tuesdays, or at least I usually don’t go out looking for a terrible trailer to trash. However, the moment I saw the trailer for Wish Upon playing silently on my Facebook wall, I knew the film would be bad. Out of some morbid curiosity, I decided to find out just how bad this film was willing to be in the name of hopping on the generic gritty fairy tale trend, and hoo boy, does this film look bad in the terrible, boring ways we’ve all become accustomed to.
As the tinkles of minor key lullaby-type music begins to play in the background, Wish Upon already gives us the sense that it’s exactly like every other teen horror movie. High schooler Claire appears to have a miserable school life because she’s targeted for bullying by Darcy, one of the popular girls. However, by some happenstance, a magical Asian music box falls into her possession which grants her seven wishes. While Claire is living it up, her peer/friend/love interest (maybe?) Ryan warns her to discard the box immediately; though she’s living the life she always wanted to, everyone who has used the box before her has met a grisly end and Claire will be no exception if the box has anything to say about it.
Both of the eye-rollingly bad devices I have to mention start with the same thought: “it’s 2017, why is this still a thing?!” So first off, it’s 2017, why is the pretty, blonde popular girl still being used as a trope? Forget for a moment that this isn’t how high school ever is, but putting the (white) popular blonde against the (white) dorky brunette is so cliche that I can’t even find a cliche to explain how cliche it is. I actually do expect better from the horror genre by this point–we should be rallying behind an actual monster rather than rejoicing when a child, no matter how much of a bully she is, wakes up to find her skin literally rotting off her body. I feel like this is going to come back in a “aw, I wish I didn’t kill her “ scene, after the inevitable death of Darcy, that will make no difference to anything in the long run.
As a sidebar, it’s really, really creepy how it appears that the only actual teenage actors in this film are the female students. From what I can see, all the characters who I’m assuming are their male peers are played by actors over thirty. Gross. Stay away from all romance ever, please.
Onto the more problematic element: it’s 2017, why, why, why are we still using this stupid “mystical Asian” trope? Claire’s magical music box is Asian—potentially Chinese?—and she only figures out that it could possibly be bad because Ryan, her East Asian peer, tells her all about it. Realistically speaking, how the hell would he know about this music box’s sordid past? As quite possibly the only Asian character in the film, it just reeks of “well of course he knows, because all Asian people know about the mystical Asian artifacts”. Also, while I’m glad that Ryan’s role seems to be less stereotypical than one might expect from a story like this, I do wish that they actually hired a teenaged Chinese or Chinese-American actor for the role rather than 30-year old Korean-American actor Ki Hong Lee. Though I guess it would absolutely be expecting too much of the film to make the distinction between the different East Asian ethnicities…
Listen, I’m not telling you not to see Wish Upon—if you want to, knock yourself out. I am saying that if you do, maybe wait until it’s on Netflix or something as it’s in no way going to be worth the ticket price. Wish Upon comes out in theaters on June 30th, because unfortunately there’s nothing I can wish upon to make it so this film ended up on the cutting room floor.