Be careful what you wish for

“Wish Upon” ( out of four stars, rated PG-13 for violence, thematic elements and profanity) is a spooky teen story that’s not particularly heavy on the scares and over-delivers on the unintentional giggles. It plays on the haunted object premise, with a mysterious Chinese wish box wreaking havoc on the life of Clare (Joey King), who can’t stop making wishes, even as her loved ones drop dead around her. The cast includes some high-profile names, including Elizabeth Rohm and Ryan Phillippe as Clare’s parents. But the premise is odd: the monster is also our heroine. The box isn’t all that scary; the frightening part is Clare — despite the gruesome outcomes, she keeps wishing for things like popularity, love and money, claiming that she just wants to feel “normal.” Written by Barbara Marshall (whose credits are mostly in TV) and directed by John R. Leonetti (“Annabelle”), the movie isn’t over-the-top wacky or campy and, in fact, feels slightly low-energy at times. But it’s the kind of simple filmmaking coupled with insane writing and plot points that make it a potential candidate for cult-film status.

Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service