Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: Wish Upon

8 of 8 viewers "Liked" "Wish Upon" (2017, USA)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

Huntress - "I used to roll my eyes at dumb teens in horror movies, but there was something about the often clumsy cool guy lingo and clique politics in Wish Upon tickled me, especially when they were backed by brutal, undiscriminating deaths. I didn’t care when it was predictable or dumb because I liked all the characters, the acting didn’t take me out of it, and a chatty audience has never enhanced a movie like this one." - 4 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "Wish Upon surprised me. Watching it reminded me of the first time I saw the original Final Destination movie; I was caught up in the sense of creativity and playfulness that framed the bloody proceedings. The mechanism of the wish box is very simple and all powerful, changing time and space to suit the wisher's desires. Thankfully, the filmmakers waste little time trying to justify the internal logic of the wish mechanics, and focus instead on building interesting scenarios that the protagonist hilariously and tragically exacerbates though sheer human folly. I don't think I would have enjoyed the hijinks of this movie nearly as much without the ensemble performances on display here. Not everyone can act, but all are quite likable, appropriately unlikeable, and occasionally even oddly charming (every horror movie needs to have Ryan Phillipe transform from a sympathetic Everyman to a Sriracha-hot saxophonist). What surprised me most about Wish Upon was that despite the film's playful glee in murdering its own characters, the film never feels mean-spirited or cruel even at its darkest moments.  Ultimately, there's a charming "magical item of doom" quaintness here that will leave the right kind of viewer exiting the theatre with a big smile on their face. Pure entertainment and that's actually entertaining? How novel!" - 4 Stars

Prang-69 - "I was cursed with sickness after seeing this film so I shouldn't disparage it too harshly. It was very inventive (actually a little generic but cool nonetheless, shhhhh). The characters were fascinating (actually pretty stock albeit sometimes weird ala dad who's an 80's jazz musician?? shhhhh). And I loved the deep musings on the multiverse (do you dig on multiverse bro?? SHHHHH). Loved it!!! - 5/5 (actually 3/5, shhhhh don't tell, bitch)." - 3 Stars

Math Mage - "A teenage girl makes predictably selfish wishes with a magic pot. The trick isn't that the wishes are ironically twisted as you might expect (she gets exactly what she wants); it's that the pot final-destinations a friend or family member for each wish. I was prepared to hate this movie; it looked like an episode of Goosebumps and not a good one. I was pleasantly surprised by hilarious banter juxtaposed with addiction metaphors." - 4 Stars

Dabbles - "I really believed this movie would be stupid from what I saw in the trailers, but as I watched expecting to see what I expected to see, there were some parts that I wasn't expecting. This movie kept me guessing! With Final Destination feeling ideas, it really made my anxiety go wild and made me forget this was a PG-13 flick. I'd sum it up as a darker, more gruesome after school special about the karma of wishers. Very memorable characters and quotes, I'd give it a thumbs up." - 4 Stars

Clark Little - "I had fun watching this. That's not something that happens all that often. I usually watch a lot of documentaries. About murder. It's a bummer. Wish Upon deals with paranormal murder and it couldn't be more of a hoot. Fun kills, weird, off-putting characters and a startling yet just ending make this teen horror flick worth the watch. #DumpsterDad" - 3.5 Stars

The Impostor - "The Wish Upon trailer debuted months ago and the premise looked predictable and basic to say the least. I was sure this film wouldn't be any good. But I was surprisingly wrong. This PG-13 teen horror exceeded my expectations on all levels. I cared for a few of the characters, the plot was simple yet interesting, it didn't drag. It had some cool kills that for sure would have been better if it was rated R, and genuinely funny moments, even when they weren't meant to be. Overall, Wish Upon is a fun movie I'd recommend to anyone. I've read recently there are 11 minutes of rated R footage that was cut that I'm hoping end up on the Blu-ray release, which will be a day one purchase for me. Although haters are gonna hate that this is PG-13 and avoid this film like the plague, I say ignore all of that and go watch it. Support horror, you won't be disappointed." - 4 Stars

Lord Battle - "Slaying on a saxophone is a metaphor for the American dream, dumpster diving plays a pivotal part of the film plot, and China grants our wishes. Wish Upon is clearly serving past, present, and future horror in the most positive way. Also it needs to be said that Wish Upon is the first film I've ever seen that managed to incorporate social media in a completely non distracting way! Next time a horror elitist tells you how dumb Wish Upon will be because they checked its Rotten Tomato score remember; "Haters gonna hate"." - 4 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Wish Upon was my most anticipated film of the year. Why? Because I've been feeling exhausted by creating content for a daily site and weekly podcast, and was really looking forward to watching something fun. But what does that mean? When you deem a movie "fun" after only watching a trailer? Well in my personal case the trailer played like a film that was obviously horror (unlike the misleading A24 films of 2017), dealt with an expendable slasher-esque cast, appeared to be treading familiar territory (much to KillDozer's dismay), definitely wasn't going to be challenging modern gender roles or push a political agenda, and would only inspire a couple "think pieces" that would go unnoticed and maybe even appear on The Overlook. I guess what I'm trying to say in not so many words is that it seemed like a film I could relax while watching and not have to worry about picking up on what the film's actually trying to say, representing, marginalizing or triggering.

Does the fact that a movie isn't very demanding of the viewer make it a special commodity? Of course not. There's usually a steady stream of films being made that fit this criteria that I wouldn't dream of sitting through (unless someone was excited and asked me). It's the fact that we don't get very many of these kind of horror films in the theatre any more; with VOD, Netflix, Shudder, YouTube, and yes, even Amazon Prime (still mad at them) as available outlets for fun horror movies, production companies limit what hits theatres now. And we all know casual movie goers only come out for literary trilogies and superhero/mass content films. Which is normally fine since films that don't play well with a causal audience have an independent theatre circuit to run, which is great and I enjoy often. But there really isn't any place for a "fun" horror film here either since a independent theatre crowd wants to be challenged (unless they are attending a retro screening).

Again, Wish Upon was my most anticipated film of the year and the theatre experience will go down as rivaling that of The Boy's. If you listen to The Overlook Hour you'll have heard that story at least twice, but long story short, the film surprised the hell out of a packed theatre. And I mean in the throw your popcorn up in the air kinda way. Wish Upon didn't quite do that. In fact, it was nothing like that, except for the energy level. During the extremely long previews that play before films now, there was a group of maybe 5 - 7 young girls running down from the very back row out into the lobby. I think they were confused about their seats, so of course they all had their phone lights on as they ran to and from the lobby in the dark theatre. This happened at least 5 times (realistically probably twice) and would have been infuriating if it wasn't a bunch of girls giggling, filled with nervous energy because they were about to watch a horror film, intellectually low impact or not. This inspired me to lean over and yell to The Impostor "What, are we in Scream 2?". The reference was one I knew he would immediately get. I made the comment as a joke but it seriously is the best way to describe the experience. Once the film started, the nervous energy just coursed through the theatre, with an entire rainbow of emotions playing out in the back row, loud and without shame, only to be followed with a machine gun spray of "SSShhhhhhHHHHHH!!!", which always worked without fail for at least 5 minutes. I ended up leaving Wish Upon in a great mood, feeling completely relaxed, ready to exchange favorite quotes, and eager to talk about the crazy theatre experience we all just had. It's just not the kind of experience the "Netflix and Chill" culture can offer.

- Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized at Century Theatres for an opening night screening on 7/13/2017
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

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