Film: Fantasy Island
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Cast: Michael Pena, Jimmy O. Yang, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Ryan Hansen, Michael Rooker, Portia Doubleday
Blumhouse’s new spin on the antiquated 70’s ABC TV series created by Gene Levitt and executive produced by Aaron Spelling, which ran on ABC from 1977-1984, has a horror slant to it. The original drama that dealt with dark themes and the supernatural was rather cheesy in its efforts to make Fantasy Island’s visitors live out their fantasies. The film of it is worse off.
In a magical island known as the Fantasy Island (where everything is possible), a group of people arrive on a sea plane, all enthused about winning a contest and hoping for their unfulfilled dreams to come true. The group consisting of contest winners—Gwen Olsen (Maggie Q), Patrick (Austin Stowell), Melanie (Lucy Hale), JD (Ryan Hansen) and Brax (Jimmy O. Yang) are soon to find out that their deepest desires may be injurious to their lives.
This adaptation, scripted by Jeff Wadlow, Chris Roach, Jillian Jacobs, tries rather hard to make the proceedings interesting. Rave parties with skimpily clad men and women, fantasy play-outs, vengeance spiels, hidden regrets start playing out as each of the participants begins to realise that their dreams may not necessarily translate into happiness unlimited. They may also not get out of there alive!
Micheal Pena looks more deadpan than mysterious, Ryan Hansen and Jimmy O Yang, who were there to hold-up the comedy, end up as drab and uninteresting, Lucy Hale and Patrick Stowell are rudimentary at best and only Maggie Q lends a sense of intensity to the lacklustre narrative. The contrived twists feel like a zombie movie took hold of what was meant to be an adventurous horror comedy. What plays out here is neither funny, adventurous nor entertaining. The reactions of the players at the sudden nihilistic turn of events feel rather factitious. Even the random twist towards the end feels forced and manufactured. Other than the picturesque aspirational locale, there’s nothing intriguing or entertaining here.