Wish Upon Promises Big Scares

For as long as she can remember, all Clare Shannon really wanted to do was alter the past. Now, she has been given the opportunity to change her future. Twelve years since discovering her mother’s suicide, Clare and her father, Jonathan, have continued to live under the long shadow cast by the tragedy. Once a successful jazz musician and teacher, Jonathan has become a manic hoarder, routinely embarrassing his daughter by digging in dumpsters in front of seemingly everyone she knows. And all of the sunny promise of Clare’s childhood has dissipated—she is now a favorite bully target among the Populars and a barely detectable presence to her longtime crush.

But all of that starts to change when her father returns home with a mysterious box covered in Mandarin inscriptions, one of which promises to grant seven wishes to its owner. Clare’s initial skepticism is no match for the seduction of the wish box’s dark magic and soon, she is thrilled as her situation radically improves with each fulfilled wish. She finally has the life she’s always wanted—popularity, wealth, a hot b.f. and everything seems perfect until the people closest to her begin meeting freakish and violent deaths.

Directed by John R. Leonetti the film stars Joey King (Clare Shannon), Ryan Phillippe (Clare’s father, Jonathan), Elisabeth Röhm (Clare’s mother) and Ki Hong Lee (Clare’s friend).

The resulting screenplay for Wish Upon combined producer Sherryl Clark and writer Barbara Marshall’s love of horror films with their appreciation of teen films from such filmmakers as John Hughes. Unlike the brat-pack flicks, Wish Upon was to highlight the grisly deaths, so Marshall and Clark spent an inordinate amount of time researching gruesome methods for killing people.

For instance, we looked up elevator deaths—many people have died horribly in elevators. The challenge then became, how can we use a piece of that? Also, there’ve been some really clever deaths on film—how do we raise the bar? You don’t want to repeat things that have been done before. I think we came up with some interesting ones, and there are a couple in this movie that I think people will be very surprised about.

In addition to the splatter, they were also committed to the mystical spiritual side of the story—namely, the mythology around the legend of the music box. They chose to fashion a myth involving a Chinese demon or evil spirit from folklore, called a yaoguai. Without following any one tale or myth, Marshall fashioned her own version of a yaoguai that fits within the screen story and ‘makes sense’ with the box developed by the art department. Clark comments, “We fit the demon to what we imagined the box would look like, and also, why people would covet it.”

Be careful what you wish for..the horror starts July 14th.