Aka: The other horror movie released alongside It this past week.
Is John R. Leonetti the polar opposite of Mike Flanagan?
Where the latter has been going from strength to strength, knocking out three pretty solid movies in 2016, with Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Before I Wake, Leonetti has struggled to transfer his impressive skills as a cinematographer to the director’s chair.
After helming mediocre material with Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and The Butterfly Effect 2, Leonetti had the chance to redeem himself with what on paper looked like a winner in Annabelle.
Unfortunately, he missed the mark by an epic margin and failed to deliver the scares. So much so, that when it was announced that there would be a prequel movie in the works, people were left scratching their heads, but Annabelle: Creation director, David F. Sandberg proved those naysayers wrong.
Leonetti would follow up with Wolves At The Door, a harrowing tale of the Sharon Tate murders, which should have been a confronting film of one of the most notorious crimes in Hollywood, but once again rode the line of safety and never offering anything new or stimulating to lift it above the ‘norm.’
With horror movies breaking records in the light of the recent It movie, there is a high expectancy to bring the goods and offer something compelling.
On paper, Wish Upon already sounds like a weak proposition with its premise of a girl who discovers an ancient Chinese box that can reward you with 7 wishes but holds a heavy caveat that with every wish, a blood pact must be served.
There’s further promise with some strong support players in Ryan Phillippe and Sherilyn Fenn, but instead of produced what could have been this generations answer to The Craft, we’re provided with a feeble attempt within the teen horror market that would barely make an impact on the small screen.
Joey King (The Conjuring, Independence Day: Resurgence) tries her best to carry this film as the lead, Clare Shannon, but ultimately she was let down by a poor plot that left us sadly wanting.
It’s little wonder that the International market were left pondering what to do with this film once it had tanked in the States, and one can’t blame them for trying to sneak it under the radar by riding on the coattails of It.
There are worse movies out there, but we’re now used to seeing high calibre efforts on the big screen and in order to impress, genre filmmakers need to lift their game and not rest on their laurels.
- Paul Farrell