Director: Jeff Wadlow
Solid: Michael Pena, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Jimmy O. Yang, Portia Doubleday, Michael Rooker, Ryan Hansen, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Mike Vogel, Kim Coates
Point out Fantasy Island to anybody underneath 40 and you’d in all probability be greeted with stony silence, or a collection of blank-eyed blinks accompanied by applicable Cartoon Community-style sound results.
The massively standard collection, which ran from 1978 to 1984 after a pair of TV motion pictures, has just about fallen out of the popular culture dialog – so when horror specialist Blumhouse acquired the rights, it will need to have figured there was no hurt in turning the property right into a horror film.
Which isn’t completely out of step.
In spite of everything, the unique collection had no scarcity of supernatural-themed tales combined in amongst its company’ extra “mundane” fantasies. Genies, mermaids, Jack the Ripper and even the Satan himself confirmed up.
So what’s the large cope with a couple of demonic beings, of the kind we get on this new model? Not a lot, to be frank.
The film’s premise is just about just like the collection. The titular island is a spot that grants its company’ fantasies (one per visitor, every to be lived out to its pure conclusion), underneath the watchful eye of its enigmatic and probably fairly long-lived overseer Mr Roarke (Michael Pena, taking on from Ricardo Montalban – and Malcolm McDowell within the one-season 1998 revival).
The unique was additionally identified (and beloved) for Roarke’s diminutive, energetic sidekick Tattoo (Herve Villechaize), whose cry of “The aircraft! The aircraft!” turned well-known the world over.
There’s no Tattoo in sight because the film begins, however somebody does say these phrases in an excited trend – with the importance made clear in some unspecified time in the future within the movie’s clumsy wrap-up.
And to maintain us oldies completely happy, the unique collection theme could be heard, although in considerably scratchy-sounding kind, twice – as soon as over the opening studio logos and later through the film itself, as elevator music.
Our expensive company this week, er, movie are: realtor Gwen (Maggie Q), in search of to repair the best remorse of her life; cop Patrick (Austin Stowell), who desires to be a soldier; bros J.D. (Ryan Hansen) and Brax (Jimmy O. Yang), who need “to have all of it”; and bullying sufferer Melanie (Lucy Hale), who wishes revenge on her highschool tormentor.
At first, their fantasies play out like a number of the watchable however immediately forgettable ones from the collection.
However issues quickly take a darkish and decidedly horrific flip with timeless torturers, homes that drip darkish fluids, humanoid figures that scurry at the hours of darkness (and, shudder, on ceilings)… the type of stuff you see within the Blumhouse vainness emblem earlier than the film correct begins.
So, it’s unremarkable however first rate up to now, with some mysteries to accompany the eerie goings-on: why is Roarke’s assistant Julia (Parisa Fitz-Henley) so sickly? And who’s the scruffy Michael Rooker lookalike lurking within the woods? Oops, it IS Michael Rooker, however, yeah, did he by accident wander over from Jumanji or one thing?
Fret not, you’re going to get the solutions to each query you have got – and sadly, solutions to questions you didn’t even ask, or need to ask.
It is because director/co-writer Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) and his scriptwriting staff felt the necessity to throw in a very unconvincing twist in the direction of the tip.
This twist really mirrors stuff that occurred sometimes on the collection, however it’s so lazily inserted right here that it simply doesn’t ring true in any respect.
As much as that time Fantasy Island was fortunately tooling round like a largely acceptable, sometimes thrilling creepshow with its personal enjoyable spin on fan-service moments (like Roarke’s “Smiles, everybody! Smiles!” to his workers at first).
By its final 15 minutes, Fantasy Island doesn’t appear to be attempting in any respect – not even giving its characters midway believable causes for getting separated after the everyday horror-movie admonition of “Stick collectively and don’t break up up no matter occurs”.
It’s good that we at the least have the always-watchable Pena performing suitably mysterious and commanding as Mr Roarke, and clearly having a grand time of it. Although even he can’t salvage the lovable however telegraphed and poorly scripted punchline that ends the film.