The only fantasy you’ll have after the torturous experience of seeing this film is that it will be expelled from your memory. In recent years Blumhouse Productions have been behind some bold and bombastic additions to the horror wheelhouse but this is definitely not one of them.
The film sees five lucky winners flown onto Fantasy Island; an establishment run by Mr. Roarke (Michael Peña) where guests’ fantasies can come true. However as each of the visitors begin their desired experience, the truth is revealed to be more dangerous and that someone is mastering operations to see that they don’t make it back to civilisation.
Jeff Wadlow did a fine job of demonstrating how to direct truly terrible terror in 2018’s ‘Truth or Dare’ and with Lucy Hale returning; who seems to have a knack for selecting dire Blumhouse features, this flick will take every ounce of patience you have and inquire of your intelligence as to why you’re still paying attention. The direction and writing are horrific and that’s pretty much the sole example of horror to be found in this film, that feels like a messy, lazy grab at being something like the far superior horror favourite, ‘The Cabin in the Woods’.
The script becomes exponentially worse and you’ll guffaw at just how tiresome and predictable this sun-scorched shambles is. Any so called dramatic turns in the narrative aren’t revelations but instead they’re brain-frazzling moments of trying to add twists and excitement only to fail with spectacular style. This film is neither horror or comedy; of which the latter could have been if ‘Fantasy Island’ took itself less seriously but any hope of dumb fun is pushed into a distant dream as you fight the urge to doze.
Piles of cheese stink up a gratuitous film which seems to have traveled forward in time from 2005; what with cliched dialogue, stereotypical characters and a score which acts like it’s more melodramatic and stirring than it has any right to think it is, you’d get more out of ‘Club Dread’. This tropical outing is truly an awful experience on most counts, it feels like you’re witnessing the most mismatched movie which takes a reasonably fair idea and moulds it into something which only grows in stupidity the more the film unfolds.
The main group of islanders are woeful to watch perform; two of them, Jimmy O. Yang and Ryan Hansen, are gratingly irritating and have been drafted in as an apparently unwanted epilogue to their appearance in ‘Like a Boss’ and the only thing they seem capable of acting is “annoying frat boy”. Maggie Q’s entire section feels flimsy and devoid of the poignancy it requires and it’s only Peña who possesses a sliver of intrigue as the mysterious man in control.
‘Fantasy Island’ is a brain-dead example of how not to make horrors or any films in general. Only the slightest glossy moments prevent it from being a Fyre Fest to toss into the Bermuda Triangle of bad movies.
Written by Troy Balmayer
STAR RATING –★
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