Review by Camden Ferrell
Fantasy Island is the newest horror movie from Blumhouse Productions. This movie is based on the popular television series of the same name. While the film does have its charms that prevent it from feeling lifeless, there are still many flaws that will make this film appeal to only the most fervent fans of teen horror.
In this movie, five guests are taken to the titular island where they are given the opportunity to live in their fantasy. However, things soon go awry as the island is not what it seems. This premise has a lot of potential since there are multiple story lines to balance and explore without any of them feeling too tired. The movie is fairly successful at juggling the characters’ stories, but it doesn’t really do its premise justice.
The execution of this movie is what you would expect from a horror movie marketed at teens. It utilizes jump scares and other cliché methods of horror. It isn’t particularly scary when it’s supposed to be, and it actually works better when it’s aiming for comedy. The script is also fairly weak. The dialogue is forced, the characterization feels superficial, and it really aims for a lot of low-hanging fruit.
Fortunately, the acting is pretty charming throughout. Out of the entire ensemble, Ryan Hansen and Jimmy O. Yang give the best performances. Playing stepbrothers, these two have a great dynamic, and they also contribute some of the funniest lines in the movie. Their storyline is consistently the most entertaining, but this unfortunately makes other sections feel underwhelming in comparison.
The movie is yet another iteration of the saying, “Be careful what you wish for”. It’s a painfully tired message that this film tries to communicate. It’s so blunt, and the movie would have been better if it doubled down on the absurdity of the guests’ fantasies rather than try too hard to push its message in an uncreative way. It’s a message that has been done countless times that bears minimal effect now.
This movie does to certain things right though. It edits between the different fantasies fairly well, and it all blends fairly well towards the end. These alternating story lines prevent the film from ever being truly boring. It’s bizarre but in an interesting way. Some stories are significantly better than others, but they’re distinct nonetheless.
However, the movie completely falls apart in its final act as it tries to push too many twists at once. It becomes really invested in the lore of the island and tries to juggle that with a contrived ending that is more frustrating than it is clever. It’s a movie that had the potential to be good but failed due to its own creative choices.
Fantasy Island may provide thrills for younger teen audiences and also provide some nostalgia for an older crowd. The movie is not as bad as one would expect, but it is far from good. It has some entertaining moments, but it’s ultimately a shallow exploration of a tired message.
Fantasy Island is now playing in theaters.