Wish Upon is one of the most pleasant surprises of the year! We had absolutely no expectations, but found it extremely entertaining.

Our expectations were honestly really low as we began watching Wish Upon. Fotunately, our negative mindset was put to shame, as the movie certainly delivered in positive ways.

We probably should have had higher expectations in the first place since John Leonetti made the movie. Even if his former movies have divided audiences, I generally enjoyed them.  And while Wish Upon may not be perfect, it’s very simple and honest. And most importantly; With horror as a driving force, the movie is extremely entertaining.

John Leonetti, who also directed Annabelle and Wolves at the Door, has a very solid horror past. Not only as a director, but as a cinematographer.

He shot the first movies in two highly popular James Wan franchises: Insidious and The Conjuring. In other words, he’s a brilliant cinematographer who’s certainly proved his worth in “our” genre.

it comes at night poster and review
This also shows in both Annabelle and Wolves at the Door, who are really beautifully shot. Even though you might not like the stories. This is why I expected Wish Upon to be a beautiful visual experience.

WISH UPON is John Hughes with a horror bonus

The real surprise was the level of sarcasm and basic humor during the movie. We’re talking a John Hughes-style. He’s the one who wrote and/or directed movies like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, National Lampoon’s Vacation and Home Alone. In other words; Don’t take any of it too seriously.

All too often, horror movies are ruined when you try to analyze the crazy slasher stories.

Wish Upon Horror Review

Most of the characters in Wish Upon are very caricatured, but it seems to be a very conscious decision. Screenwriter Barbara Marshall has clearly stated that John Hughes was ahuge inspiration for the style and story in Wish Upon.

On top of this we get some crazy death scenes. In a good way, and tehrefore easily compared to Final Destination. Actually, it’s kind of hard not to make that comparison, as we’re seeing scenes where death is most certainly chasing the chosen victims.

In other words, don’t spend time bitching about the stereotyped characters. Just enjoy that everything is on edge and watch it as pure entertainment. It’s kind of like Scream in 1996, where all the horror tropes were pointed out by its characters and then happened anyway.

A great cast with many new stars

Just as it was the case with Scream, Wish Upon is full of up-and-coming young stars. The lead, Clare, is played by Joey King, who also portrayed the little girl in the new horror classic The Conjuring.

One of her friends, Meredith, is played by Sydney Park from The Walking Dead season 7. The other friend, June, is portayed by Shannon Purser, who’s known as poor “Barb” in Stranger Things.

Wish Upon Horror Review

Also, there’s Ki Hong Lee from The Maze Runner movies, as her childhood friend, Ryan.

Old school horror – including comedy and blood

And to complete the cast, we get two former sex symbols portraying very “normal” parent and neighbor characters. There’s Ryan Phillippe, who got his breakthrough in the Scream teen-horror challenger I Know What You Did Last Summer. He plays the part of Clare’s dad. And Sherilyn Fenn, who rose to fame as Audrey from Twin Peaks, portrays the sweet lady across the street.

It’s a quirky detail to have these particular actors in those exact roles. Even if Ryan Phillippe is still looking younger than his age and doesn’t magically become a “boring dad” just because the glue som iffy beard on him. But the concept is great!

If you’re looking for an old school horror movie with an 80’s feel, where humor [sarcasm] and slasher elements (without too much blood), then make sure you give Wish Upon a shot. Barbara Marshall definitely managed to pen a crazy story worthy of both John Hughes and the 1990’er teen-horror craze.

P.S. Do make sure you stay in the theater for end-credit scenes (yep, Marvel-style).


Director: John Leonetti
Writer: Barbara Marshall
Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Elisabeth Rohm, Joey King, Shannon Purser, Sherilyn Fenn, Alice Lee, Mitchell Slaggert, Ki Hong Lee, Josephine Langford


A teenage girl discovers a box that carries magic powers to turn wishes into reality. However, it also has a deadly price for using it.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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