Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island (2020)

From one Blumhouse production, to another. Fantasy Island – or, as the film’s opening titles says – Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island, introduces us to an island off the coast of somewhere which promises to fulfil your every fantasy – for a price. A prequel to the 1977 morality fantasy drama of the same name, Fantasy Island introduces us to Mr Roarke, a white suited businessman rumoured to have purchased the island from the natives for a couple of crates of rum.

Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell and Michael Peña in Columbia Pictures’ BLUMHOUSE’S FANTASY ISLAND.

Introducing himself as the island’s keeper, Mr Roarke welcomes a group of new guests to the island. The guests, said to have won a competition to have their every fantasy fulfilled, are businesswoman Gwen Olsen, former cop Patrick Sullivan, step-brahs JD and Brax, and the troubled angsty Melanie Cole.

In no time at all, our guests are swept up into their individual fantasies. For JD and Brax, it’s straight to the pool party to be surrounded by models, music and alcohol; for Patrick it’s an assignment in the US Army; for Gwen it is a chance to start her life over with an old flame and for Melanie.. Well.

Melanie is an odd one. Her fantasy is to see her childhood bully, Sloane, humiliated and tortured – just as she was when she is a school. 

The trouble is, there’s.. a little more to it. You don’t get your fantasy fulfilled without a hefty price tag. Something that I feel should be made more clear on entering the island. As Mr Roarke puts it, there is only one rule. That each guest has one fantasy that they must see out until its natural conclusion. For better, or for worse.

As we see in the trailer, we’re soon introduced to the true horror of this when Melanie is torturing Sloane, only to realise that that is the actual Sloane and that she is actually being tortured. One by one, the fantasies of our group of guests begin to grind their heels in, twisting the knife as each fantasy begins to backfire.

But the question soon becomes – maybe the fantasies going wrong, are someone else’s fantasy all along…?

UGH. Fantasy Island is garbage. It’s a glorified television movie with little depth, zero character and a whole load of weird and convenient plot threads that left me feeling cold. I had no interest in our guests, nor of the mysterious island and its faintly paranormal powers. In many ways, this felt like a child’s imitation of the island from Lost. I understand that this is extremely loosely connected to the 70s show, but I can’t help but feel that this was a rushed attempt to parody the source material, while still delivering a dirt cheap product for teenagers to come to on a Saturday night.

It’s a shame, because writer-director Jeff Wadlow has surprised me in the past. Truth or Dare, while not an amazing film, had at least found its feet and won me over with charm and, most notably, a cast that I actually cared about.

At its best, Fantasy Island had some interesting ideas, akin to a cheap Twilight Zone episode. At its worst, this had me rolling my eyes and wishing for the exit. There are two Blumhouse films in cinemas right now, and this isn’t the one you should be watching.


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