PG Score: 4/10
Fantasy Island is a lame attempt at a reboot that nobody asked for. This poor excuse for a horror flick has very few redeeming qualities and is for the most part, pure drivel. This is a rare misfire for Blumhouse Productions and it’s baffling as to why they’d sign on to it in the first place.
FI is a reimagining of the campy TV series from the 70s. The plot focuses on a tropical island that grants guests their deepest fantasies. Whereas the TV show sticks to a lighthearted approach, this adaptation mixes in a heavy horror element. This odd decision felt doomed from the start and, unsurprisingly, fails miserably.
The guests on the island are thoroughly uninteresting characters, each with their own equally insipid backstory. None of the protagonists really stand out, nor do any of the performances. The biggest name on the roster is Michael Peña, who plays the island’s overseer, Mr. Roarke. He has a wildly unconvincing accent and seems to be operating on a robotic level of sorts. He never raises his voice, seems interested or bothered by anything (regardless of the mayhem that is going on around him), and all of his mannerisms have a mechanical feel. It's hard to tell if this is a result of a bad performance or bad writing, as Peña is typically a reliable actor.
One of the few silver linings in the almost entirely dismal horizon that is FI, is a portion of the mystery element during the buildup. As the island’s secrets are beginning to be revealed, some of its unveiling does have an intriguing feel to it, but this luster is quickly overshadowed by the film’s numerous shortcomings. Director Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) who also co-wrote the film, again tries his hand at genre-blending with FI. While he had reasonable success with it in the action/comedy sequel to Kick-Ass, he strikes out here. The large dose of attempted humor mainly produces massive cringes and extended eye-rolls. Sure, there are a few light chuckles to be had but that’s where it ends. Many of the jokes either land awkwardly or never find the ground at all. The horror piece of the film is even less effective. The slasher elements are greatly held back by its PG-13 rating. Fantasy Island has enough working against it already that it would’ve likely benefited from some splurging in the gore department. Instead, Wadlow’s choice to go light on the bloodshed is yet another knock against it. The minimal jump scares that occur are extremely pedestrian and likely won’t make the average moviegoer even flinch. There’s really nothing new here as most of the movie’s scare attempts are weak retreads of a long list of horror flicks before it. The writing leaves much to be desired, to say the least. The dialogue is a mixture of misfired one-liners, dull exchanges between forgettable characters, and tedious accounts that are meant to resemble backstories. As it wills itself towards the end of its painfully drawn-out climax, it grows increasingly boring. The finale gets tiresome quite quickly and it’s clear that a lot should’ve been shaved off its excessive 110-minute runtime.
Fantasy Island is a failed experiment in nearly every imaginable regard. The only fantasy audiences will have is to be watching a different movie.