Fantasy Island Movie Review: Michael Peña & Lucy Hale's film is a nightmare dressed like a daydream

Fantasy Island Movie Review: Jeff Wadlow directs a mess of a movie that tries its hardest to fulfill or fantasies of a good horror flick but fails spectacularly. Even the above-average performances by the cast and the visually pleasing exotic locations can't save this fantasy island.
Fantasy Island releases today, i.e. February 14, 2020.Fantasy Island releases today, i.e. February 14, 2020.
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Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island Cast: Michael Peña, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale

Fantasy Island Director: Jeff Wadlow

Fantasy Island Stars: 2.5/5

With hits like Paranormal Activity and Get Out under their banner, Blumhouse Productions' next outing Fantasy Island intrigued me at first glance of the trailer. Based on the 1977 namesake series, Fantasy Island had heavy scope to deliver and as the movie began, I was waiting to be pleasantly surprised. Surprised, I was! But for all the wrong reasons! In what was a concocted mess of storytelling, Jeff Wadlow's jumbled direction proved to be anything but a fantasy, edging towards the cliches of horror that we need to get past already!

For the unversed, similar to the theme of Lost, Fantasy Island is based on a high-end resort, in the middle of nowhere curated by Mr. Roarke (Michael Peña). Thanks to a contest, Gwen Olsen (Maggie Q), Melanie Cole (Lucy Hale), Patrick Sullivan (Austin Stowell), Brax (Jimmy O. Yang) and JD (Ryan Hansen) are welcomed to the island to make their passionate fantasies a reality. While Gwen's fantasy is to recreate a marriage proposal she said no to years ago, Melanie wants to seek revenge from a college bully. Patrick wants to live the fantasy of being a part of the army while brothers Brax and JD wants to have it all!

While their fantasies are fulfilled one by one, the horrors follow through as well and no matter how much they regret having their dream come true, they have to see the fantasy through. In what could have been a classic horror experimentation is dampened by its extraordinarily shoddy script by Jeff, Chris Roach and Jillian Jacobs. This movie is filled with cliches - naive characters who love to be trapped in close, scary quarters, hot women in bikinis (Don't worry! There's JD, who is Asian and of the LGBTQ community with a hot Alejandro in a speedo; because let's show diversity!), atypical jump scares (Telephone ringing, twin spirits), cringe-worthy background score and that's just in the first half an hour. 

Just when you think the storyline is setting the pace and is planning to go somewhere, the writers play a game of tick-tack-toe where they try to make a straight narrative but ultimately end up losing, especially while trying to tie in the character. I'll admit, the last major twist is not something I expected but that's because everything that happens before was anything but luring.

ALSO READ: Pretty Little Liars alum Lucy Hale meets BTS & she did not know what to do with her hand; See HILARIOUS Pic

When it comes to the performance, Lucy Hale and Portia Doubleday [Mr Robot] as Sloane Maddison try their damnest to make sense out of a mediocre script but are also limited by the said mediocre script. None of the performances stand apart and that's truly dampening to see. I get it, Fantasy Island is not a big-budget film but Toby Oliver's is displeasing to the eyes with the overdramatic close-up shots and tries to break the dimensions with documentary-style filming but fails spectacularly. Even the exotic locations couldn't save Fantasy Island!

It's extremely disheartening to see a film with such an exponential potential being flustered to a mess of a movie! A wise person once wrote, "Darling, I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream." Fantasy Island took this to heart, apparently! You know when a film is so bad, that it's good? Well, what should one do when it's just bad!

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