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Film / Wish Upon

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Wish Upon is a 2017 supernatural horror film directed by John R. Leonetti (Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Annabelle), written by Barbara Marshall, and starring Joey King, with Sydney Park, Shannon Purser, Sherilyn Fenn, and Elisabeth Röhm among the supporting roles.

Clare Shannon (King) is a 17-year-old high school outcast whose father finds a mysterious music box that grants 7 wishes. Although skeptical at first, Clare soon finds out the music box does indeed have power. Naturally, she begins using it to gain her heart's desire. However, every time she makes a wish, someone else gets hurt in order for the wish to come true. What's more, everyone before her who has ever owned the music box (and no doubt used its wishes) died under mysterious circumstances...

Tropes include:

  • Alpha Bitch: Darcie Chapman. She tends to harass Clare, leading to her wishing that Darcie would rot.
  • Artifact of Doom: The music box, which grants up to seven of its owner's wishes, but kills a person close to them in exchange for each one. After the seventh wish is made, the box claims its owner's soul.
  • Artistic License – Physics: There is no way Clare would've been launched up several feet in the air by the car that struck and killed her, let alone in that long of a parabola, unless the car was practically blasting towards her.
  • Back from the Dead: Clare's wish to go back in time to get rid of the box has the added effect of bringing back everyone who died previously. Too bad the Cruel Twist Ending kicks in and Clare herself dies in their place.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Clare's first wish gives Darcie necrotizing fasciitis, which she recovers from with only a few missing toes and what looks like a rash on her face instead of exceptionally bad scarring.
    • Clare's death from a car crash sends her flying 20 feet in the air, yet her body looks perfectly fine and intact.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The music box grants seven wishes, but there is a price to be paid when all the wishes are granted.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted. Meredith who is a Twofer Token Minority being played by half-Black/half-Korean actress Sydney Park and Gina who is Chinese both die, but neither is the first plus their deaths are erased and both are Back from the Dead at the end of the film.
  • Blatant Lies: When June and Meredith ask Clare if she got rid of the box, she says she did so when in reality all she did was put locks on it and stash it in an AC vent.
  • Body Horror: Clare's first wish, for Darcie Chapman to "rot", makes her develop necrotizing fasciitis, essentially rotting her alive.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Clare asks everything to be undone... Too bad this was her final wish, which still counted even if it was to reverse everything. And worse, the box is still at large.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Clare was just a little girl when she witnessed her mother's suicide.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Most death scenes happen during nighttime.
  • Deadly Bath: August slips while getting into the bath, cracks his head on the edge of the tub, and drowns.
  • Downer Ending: Clare dies after undoing all the wishes and trying to get rid of the box. And Ryan goes against Clare's final request and reads the inscription on the music box. The only upside is that the six people that were killed by Clare's wishes are alive again.
  • Driven to Suicide: Paul attempts this after he breaks into Clare's bedroom and she rejects him. Also, we learn that at least two of the box's previous owners chose to die by their own hand rather than causing any more unnecessary deaths or making the final wish and ending up having their soul taken for doing so. One of these people was Clare's mom.
  • Equivalent Exchange: Every time a wish is granted, someone has to die. After the seventh wish, the box claims its owner's soul.
    "When the music ends, the blood price is paid."
  • Everyone Has Standards: Darcie might be a bitch, but she's still horrified when she accidentally kills Clare with her car at the end.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Clare's dog is shown snarling at the music box both when Clare gets it and when her mother throws it into the garbage.
  • Evil Elevator: Meredith is killed when the elevator she is in suddenly plummets. It stops briefly and she uses the opportunity to call for help. The door opens and she is about to step out, when the elevator suddenly drops again and plunges all the way to the bottom of the shaft.
  • Exact Words: The demon takes the user's soul once they've made seven wishes. Clare dies after using her last wish to undo all the wishes and get rid of the box.
  • Gardening-Variety Weapon: When Clare spots someone spying on her bedroom, she chases after them with a rake. She then almost hits her father with it when he comes up behind her.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Clare is almost hit by Darcie's car on her way to school at the start. Guess how she dies in the Cruel Twist Ending.
    • When doing research on the history of the music box, Claire, Ryan, and Gina find out that the original owner of the box, Liu Mei, was Driven to Suicide and overdosed on opium. Ryan later learns that another owner of the music box also committed suicide. Given that we later learn the final wish results in the Yaoguai taking the user's soul, it's likely that Liu Mei learned of this and decided to take her own life than have her soul stolen by the demon. It's entirely possible the second owner did as well... and it's heavily implied that this is the reason why Claire's own mother killed herself.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: The demon possessing the music box. It spends the entire film inside the music box granting wishes, never speaking or appearing in person. Even when it claims Clare's soul in the end, the demon itself never appears in person. Despite being the driving evil force behind the story, it's more of a plot point than a character. The only time it displays any character is when it breaks its rule of only killing people close to the owner to kill Gina before she can warn Ryan and Clare.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Jonathan's death. We can only imagine what his decapitated corpse looked like as his blood sprays on a horrified Clare's face.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The demon possessing the music box is an odd case of being both this and the central villain at the same time. It possesses the music box and grants the owner the wishes, killing people close to the owner before claiming their soul in the end. However, the demon itself never appears in person, spending all of it time in the music box. This makes it The Ghost.
  • Haunted Technology: The music box is possessed by a demon that takes the user's soul when the seven wishes are granted.
  • Hell Is That Noise: "When the music ends, the blood price is paid."
  • Here We Go Again!: Clare dies after using her seventh wish to go back in time and stop her father from finding the box. The mid-credits scene shows Ryan preparing to bury the box, but stopping to read the inscription and looking at it thoughtfully.
  • Hope Spot: Twice: Once when Clare uses her sixth wish to undo her mother's suicide. Clare is too happily distracted by the reunion of her parents to realize that someone still has to die to make it happen... And another when Clare uses her last wish to go back to the day she found the box and have Ryan get rid of it. Too bad making her last wish still dooms her.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Gina meets her demise by tripping and falling onto the tusk of a rhino statue.
  • Jackass Genie: Zigzagged: Surprisingly, with the exception of Paul becoming too obsessed with Clare (even so, he never attempts to rape her), the wishes are all granted the way that the user wants them to (for example, when Clare wishes that her dad would stop embarrassing her, he simply did just that instead of dying so he could no longer do so, and when she wishes that she would be the most popular girl in school, her own popularity is simply boosted instead of the other students all dying or something.) However, for every wish that is granted, someone close to the wisher dies. There is also the fact that, when Clare wishes that her mom had never killed herself, the music box kills her father of all people. Additionally, it's strongly implied that the wishes themselves are only temporary; for instance, Darcie's necrotizing fasciitis ends up healing with only some minor scarring and Clare loses both the mansion and her newfound popularity by the climax.
  • Karma Houdini: Thanks to the Cruel Twist Ending, Darcie not only gets fully relieved of her earlier comeuppance, she ends up fatally mowing Clare down with her car (accidentally, but still) and the movie ends without revealing if she'll even face consequences for that. None of the other kids who bully Clare face any consequences at all.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Not even going back in time and foisting the box onto Ryan before she has a chance to use it herself helps Clare escape the Your Soul Is Mine! clause because it still counts as the final wish necessary to enact said clause. Additionally, up to this point, she continued to selfishly call upon the box for her own personal gain even after she knew it might be killing innocent people as a side effect.
  • Literal Genie:
    • "I wish that Darcie Chapman would just...I don't know, but just, like, go rot."
    • Also, "I wish that Paul Middlebrook would fall madly in love with me."
  • Look Both Ways: Clare uses her last wish to travel back in time and prevent her father from finding the wish box. She gives the backpack containing the box to Ryan and tells him bury it without opening it. Relieved of her burden, she turns and crosses the road to go to school without checking. And is immediately struck by Darcie's car and dies.
  • Loophole Abuse: Attempted and defied. Clare thinks that wishing to go back in time and getting rid of the box before she has a chance to use it will nullify all the trouble it's caused. She's partially right; doing so does keep all of the deaths it caused from happening, but it's still technically her final wish. Cue the Cruel Twist Ending.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • The entire first trailer plays the music box's unsettling tune.
    • Also, the moderately upbeat "Careful What You Wish For" by Wayfarers playing in the end credits, directly after Clare's death.
  • Made of Indestructium: The box can't be destroyed in a fire or by being hit with a sledgehammer.
  • Madness Mantra: "Everything will be fine! Everything will be fine!"
  • Missing Mom: Clare's mother isn't around, only her father. The movie reveals that she committed suicide after using the music box, but she briefly reappears when Clare uses her sixth wish to undo her death.
  • Off with His Head!: How Jonathan (Clare's father) dies after Clare brings her mother back to life.
  • Oh, Crap!: Clare when she realizes her mom was the third person to commit suicide to prevent herself from making the final wish.
  • Punished with Ugly: Played with. Darcie's face begins to rot after Clare's wish, which causes her to be horribly disfigured at first and threatens to destroy most of her face. The rotting later stops and she is left with severe scarring, but nevertheless manages to look essentially like her old self with some facial scarring.
  • Rule of Seven: The music box grants 7 wishes. You do not want to the seventh wish granted.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Clare's sixth wish, to bring her mother back to life, causes her father to die in exchange.
  • Sequel Hook: The mid-credits scene has Ryan about to bury the box but then taking it out and eyeing it thoughtfully. If a sequel were made, one could bet his first wish would be bringing Clare back to life.
  • Shopping Montage: Clare treats her best friends Meredith and June to one after she comes into her inheritance.
  • Social Media Before Reason: If one of your best friends has just developed necrotizing fasciitis (a.k.a. 'flesh-eating disease') and is freaking out, then now is probably not the time to snap a photo of her and post it on the web.
  • Spurned into Suicide: Subverted. Paul slits his left wrist in response to Clare spurning him over his creepy tendencies, but he survives and is later seen dating Darcie again after the wish wears off.
  • Staircase Tumble: June falls down the stairs at while fighting with Clare over the box. She is seen lying unmoving at the foot of the stairs, but it is not clear if she is alive or dead.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Paul, under the box's influence.
  • Stalking is Love: Paul, under the influence of the wish box, falls madly in love with Clare. So madly that he starts breaking into her house and taking photos of her while she sleeps.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Most of the characters who die from the wishes end up dying from their own stupidity, such as standing on an unstable ladder while using a chainsaw to cut down a branch. This, unfortunately, extends to Clare in the end as she might have avoided being struck by Darcie's car had she looked both ways before crossing the street.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer gives away three death scenes in pretty full detail like who's going to die and how. This while the deaths in the movie are supposed to be suspenseful.
  • The Unreveal: Even when Ryan gives Clare information on the music box's previous owners and what they wished for, the movie never reveals what wishes Clare's mother made with it and who died for them.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Clare's father finds the music box in the garbage at the old estate and gives it to his daughter as a gift. A nice and thoughtful gesture to be sure, but in doing so, he unknowingly unleashes all of the carnage that is to follow.
  • Villainous Glutton: While "villainous" is certainly a stretch, Clare's use of the music box is treated the same way as an addiction. Even when she suspects that it might be causing others harm and is advised to get rid of it by June, she holds onto it and continues to make wishes, which makes her indifferent at best. Near the end, she's outright behaving like a drug-addicted teen who can't see reason.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: June gives one to Clare after Meredith's death. Ryan also gives her a piece of his mind after learning how deep in she is and another one after she causes June to be injured in a scuffle over the box.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: After the seventh wish is fulfilled, the music box will claim its owner's soul. When Clare makes the seventh wish to go back in time and stop her father from finding the music box, she succeeds but gets hit by Darcie's car and dies.

What's your wish?