The horror movie. A genre which has a hard time renewing itself and which, however, is entitled to its international production every month. How much…
The horror movie. A genre which has a hard time renewing itself and which, however, is entitled to its international production every month. How many times since the beginning of the year have you seen posters plastered on the windows of your bus stop featuring the name of the latest horror feature film with a slogan like “By the producers of [choose it? film of your choice] ”. Just see the list of “creations” released during the last twelve months: Annabelle 2, Le Cercle, The Jane Doe Identity, The Conjuring 2, Don’t Breathe, Ouija: les origins, Blair Witch, Viral and I past.
Certainly in this list there are a few accomplishments that are worth seeing. We cannot put them all in the same basket but it is certain that many of them did not have the required quality to make the whole audience shiver. And it is with this sad observation that we welcome, not without a priori, a certain I Wish. Directed by John R. Leonetti, to whom we already owe Annabelle (but also Mortal Kombat – Final Destruction released in 1997), the feature film presents us with a fairly innovative and enigmatic concept.
Stereotypes die hard
If the initial premise is intriguing, the whole quickly becomes hollow. Here we follow the story of Claire Shannon, a high school student who lives with her father in a dilapidated house. Younger, she had witnessed, incredulous, the suicide of her mother without ever understanding the reasons. On her birthday, her father, Jonathan, brought her a beautiful box with Chinese inscriptions found in a trash can a few blocks away. It is written on it that she can make any wish of her owner come true. Claire then tries her luck. And it works. In a short time, she becomes popular, is loved by the most beautiful boy in high school, and even gets rich. But what she did not understand is that with each wish granted, one of her relatives dies in terrible circumstances.
So that’s what awaits you during the screening. All the elements inherent to the genre are brought together. Jumpscare, background music, mixture of disgust and fear, questioning of paranormal facts, etc. But everything is badly conducted, badly told, badly staged. I Wish is playing on a painting that has already been painted thousands of times. Stereotypes about the characters are legion. The unpopular girl who bickers with the beautiful high school student, the young man with the perfect physique, the complicated family situation, the childhood friend in love, the cousin who “knows things”, etc. Nothing is new, everything is expected. In that sense, the film is never really scary, when that should be its number one asset. As too often in recent years, the director tells a story with too few innovative elements to really interest us. We are looking for the exact purpose of what is being told to us, impatiently awaiting the twists and turns that should bring adrenaline to the story. But nothing ever happens, like having fun going around in circles and presenting a story that is as uninteresting as it is boring. All that awaits you are a few scary scenes that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. And again, you will feel them coming well in advance. as if we were having fun going in circles and presenting a story that is as uninteresting as it is boring. All that awaits you are a few scary scenes that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. And again, you will feel them coming well in advance. as if we were having fun going in circles and presenting a story that is as uninteresting as it is boring. All that awaits you are a few scary scenes that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. And again, you will feel them coming well in advance.
Badly filmed, badly performed?
I Wish had real potential with its Chinese music box story. The past that revolves around the object is quite innovative as are its origins. But it is explained with a certain withdrawal, as if even the director does not believe his story. And this is felt very quickly. The rhythm imposed on us is uneven, sometimes energetic, sometimes slow. The staging is wobbly and extremely classic for a feature film of the genre. John R. Leonetti’s filmic does not add anything and we are sometimes surprised by his choice of shots, which can interfere with the proper understanding of the scene which is portrayed to us. The viewer never really gets into the action, and the characters’ lack of insight doesn’t help.
Even if it means playing on purely American stereotypes, we should at least not have taken ourselves seriously. And yet, I Wish expresses a kind of self-centeredness. In addition to making references, often dubious, to certain other horror productions, we feel that the film is trying to persuade itself that it brings an expected wind of freshness. And this is far from being the case. What annoys especially in the realization of John R. Leonetti, it is his naivety. Based on simple scenes, sometimes poorly constructed, the feature film thinks it can frighten us. And the worst part is, it never really is. A shame for a horror film which sometimes turns in spite of itself into a sort of fantastic project, mixing thriller and, we grant you, low-end horror.