Fantasy Island, a film directed and written by the same person who is responsible for 2018’s abysmal Truth or Dare. Blumhouse really needs to stop prefacing these atrocious films as if hot garbage is something to be celebrated. Not only does Fantasy Island fail to deliver, but it also bypasses logic for nonsense and gaping plot holes galore. A premise that was interesting, but ultimately fumbles in every which way possible.
Based on the late 70’s show of the same name, this horror reimagining of Fantasy Island centers on a group of guests at a remote tropical resort where their wildest dreams are brought to life in the form of nightmares. Directed and written by Jeff Wadlow, Fantasy Island stars Michael Pena, Lucy Hale, Portia Doubleday, Ryan Hansen, Austin Stowell, Jimmy Yang, and Maggie Q. Honestly, this film will probably be so bad its good for many but I am not one of those individuals. Also, if Wadlow is going to create a running gag of casting Hale in all of his future films, then that will probably be the best indicator that the film is not worth seeing.
It seems like every Valentine’s Day a horror film releases and it either becomes a classic like Silence of the Lambs, or it is completely forgettable like Fantasy Island. It would be nice to sit down and speak with the individual who greenlit this project because this film is a complete mess in its writing department. The happenings on the island are all orchestrated or overseen by Mr. Roarke (Pena) and with each twist and turn, the story becomes so illogical and disregards everything that happened prior to tell a brand new story almost. The group of guests consists of Melanie (Hale), Gwen (Q), J.D. (Hansen), Brax (Yang), Patrick (Stowell).
Each with their own personal fantasy and the island grants it upon discussion with Mr. Roarke. Melanie wants revenge on a childhood bully, Sloane (Doubleday) who for some reason was already on the island prior to Melanie’s arrival. This is just one of the minor things wrong with the film as it unfolds. Gwen wants a chance to say yes to a proposal she denied after one year of dating. J.D. and Brax are the two comic relief characters who just want to party with girls and homosexual men. Patrick is looking to meet his deceased father again, as he died serving the country when Patrick was small. Now, none of the characters are really fleshed out other than Melanie because the film spends time resolving her childhood trauma more than any of the other fantasies.
Aside from that, the dialogue between these characters comes off as cringe at best and it is just so awful to hear. Getting into the baffling logic, each guest is revealed to be connected to each other from a past event, and a mastermind, of course, is responsible for this one ultimate revenge fantasy. Wadlow’s screenplay suffers here because none of the guest fantasies came to life until they were on the island. It is stated that the guests won a contest to be on the island, so how this mastermind got a fantasy like this to work without being on the island is ridiculous and nonsensical. Also, the twist is so irrational it renders every scene prior unnecessary because if it’s all one big revenge fantasy then there was no need to have the guest go through their own personal fantasies in between.
On a more positive note, Hale and Q give the best performances here and everyone else just feels uninspired and disingenuous. Pena’s Portrayal of Mr. Roarke is very flat and one dimensional, but so are most of the characters on screen so I guess he was matching the energy of his character and co-stars. Q probably should have been the lead actress, but her arc wasn’t as relevant to the plot in the end. None of the character arcs are relevant until their connection is revealed and it factors into the twist. Again, it is as if a whole different script should have been written to make sense out of the twist because it just shatters the film to pieces logically. Doubleday is great in the series Mr. Robot, but here her character is mishandled, she gives a decent enough performance but still very flat.
Wadlow’s direction is fine, he captures the film wonderfully but everything becomes undone by the script and weak performances. He is capable of directing, but it’s best he leave the writing to someone more talented. The score in Fantasy Island by Bear McCreary is a perfect match for the premise and setting of the film, and McCreary was also responsible for the recent score for Child’s Play, so it wasn’t surprising that he delivered in the sound department yet again. If there is one component that is near perfect for this film, it will definitely go to its score.
Much to no one’s surprise, Fantasy Island is an abomination overall simply because the writing and the acting just aren’t up to par with all the other filmmaking components. Perhaps if someone took the time to make sure the script made sense, the film would have been better. Unfortunately what we have here is yet another crash and burn film that was poorly executed. Fantasy Island had potential, so it’s just frustrating to see that it was squandered for nonsense and a cash grab attempt.