Fantasy Island

By Bradley Lane

Blumhouse Productions has been responsible for arguably the largest and most important horror films of the previous decade; Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister and Get Out, just to name a few of their hits. They found success early when Paranormal Activity (2009) made $193 million worldwide, with a budget of just $15,000. This example would serve to fuel the Blumhouse model of production, making films for very cheap in order to produce as many films as possible while being able to take on more risks on up and coming filmmakers. However, with the sheer volume of films being released each year, it does guarantee that some of those films are not going to be up to the same level of quality as their best. Fantasy Island is an unfortunate example of that lack of quality.

Based on the 1977 television show of the same name, Fantasy Island follows a collection of characters as they arrive on an island that is promised to allow them to experience their deepest desire. Predictably, what begins as each of their fantasies slowly become horrors, as the unintended consequences of their fantasies begin to reveal themselves.

Where the film differentiates itself from the television show is in its insistence to try and surprise the audience through a series of convoluted and nonsensical plot twists that serve only to make the screenwriters feel smarter than their audience. This is further evidenced by the film flashing back at every moment imaginable to go back and explain these twists over again so the audience can keep up. It feels like being talked down to, and no one enjoys that.

Besides the structure of the film being mind-numbingly dumb, the dialogue also suffers from a lack of polish. In fact, the entire film feels like a rough first draft that was neglected a proper edit and was greenlit without much oversight. This stunted dialogue leaves the cast of the film in a tough spot, because the source material is so vapid and clunky there is not a whole lot for them to do in terms of performance. Maggie Q’s performance does manage to shine through as the most emotionally complex role in the film, but even that isn’t saying a whole lot.

Fantasy Island is a cheap cash-grab, whose only ambition is to bank off the nostalgia of a better, pre-existing intellectual property. -1/5 stars

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