This isn’t my favourite thriller film because it was more of a drama to me because the plot didn’t follow a typical convention of the thriller genre, which I hoped to see, instead it was centred around the love Doug had for Lena.

“Careful What You Wish For” is a 2015 American drama thriller staring the following:

  • Nick Jonas as “Doug Martin”
  • Isabelle Lucas as “Lena Harper”
  • Dermot Mulroney as “Elliott Harper”
  • Paul Sorvino as “The Sheriff”
  • Kandyse Mclure as “Angie Alvarez”


The film poster reveals how the character Lena has Doug wrapped round her finger, as her hand gives the impression that she is in control of him.

(To see the trailer for the film, watch below…)


The overview of the plot of the film, is that Doug Martin spends the summer with his parents at their lake house, all is good until a rich man Elliott Harper and his young wife Lena Harper move into the house next door. It’s clear that Doug is attracted to Lena, so when Elliott asks him to help him on his sailboat, it gives Doug the chance to talk to Lena. They soon begin an affair, and Lena opens up to Doug about how Elliot is abusive and controlling towards her; she gives him a phone in which they use to send secret messages to one another. But one day Doug receives a phone call and instantly goes round to her house to find Elliott dead on the floor; she claims that she killed him in self defence after he tried attacking her.After being convinced by Lena to help cover up Elliott’s death, Doug takes his body on the sailboat, setting fire to it. The police/sheriff are on the case to find out who killed him, which Doug is suspected for the death, as Lena has manipulated him all along saying that he stalked her (handing him in to the police). But before he is arrested, he follows Lena to a house, finding that she is with the detective Angie; it’s now that he knows they have been together from the start and are leaving the country together with the money inherited from Elliott’s death. Which the film ends with Doug being arrested, having a reduced sentence whilst Lena and Angie are on the run, deciding on whether he regretted what had happened or not.

I would rate the film…


For the reason that, the ending was not predictable in my eyes, I wouldn’t have expected the detective to have a relationship with the antagonist, who is Lena (only revealed late in the film) and escape being sentenced to prison for murdering Elliott. They worked together to get his money, whilst Doug was trying to help cover up her mess; he was vulnerable and naive in which we feel sympathetic towards him.  Therefore, the way their relationship is revealed to the audience is through Lena and Angie’s matching tattoos on their ankles, as we see Lena’s frequently throughout the film of half a heart.

Which these close up shots, emphasise that another person has the rest of the heart, but we don’t know who this person is…


So when there’s the two shot of Angie and Lena, walking away from Doug who is handcuffed in a room, we assume that Detective Angie is arresting Lena. But the juxtaposing shot of a close up, reveals that they have matching tattoos; signifying they worked together to murder Elliott. In which they will run away together, whilst Doug pays their consequences, even though he is innocent. This is a good aspect of the film because it contains a plot twist making me feel like Doug didn’t deserve it.


However, I think that the film isn’t great in the sense that I expected there to be more conventions of the thriller genre including:

  • Low key lighting
  • Shadows
  • Tense music
  • Quick cuts

Although there were some, I wanted to feel more anxious and tense when watching; instead I felt that there wasn’t that much of a build up to the fact that Lena had killed Elliott and Doug was covering it up. It just cut to him being scared that he would get caught, and then Lena telling the police it was him.

Also, I think that the film can be categorised more in the Drama genre than the thriller, as there isn’t that mush of a battle between the protagonist who is Doug and the antagonist.(Lena).  This would then make it in the thriller genre if it did, but because it doesn’t and it doesn’t contain conventions of portraying the journey of a character’s development; I would say it’s a combination/hybrid of both.