Movie Review: “Fantasy Island” misses its opportunity to be a fun horror franchise

You would think that a re-imagining of the old TV show “Fantasy Island” as a horror franchise would be straight out bizarre, but director, Jeff Wadlow, and Blumhouse horror almost pull with it’s self titled big picture treatment. Sadly, this Fantasy Island tries to do to much and completely fails to stick the landing, losing it’s audience in the process.

When a group of contest winners arrive on Fantasy Island and meet the mysterious Mr. Roarke ( Michael Pena), they find that they’ve won the opportunity to make their biggest dreams come true. Unfortunately, for our characters they must see out their fantasies “to conclusion” which when you think about it, really can change the complexion of a wish.

To start good or bad? This could have been great. Let’s start with the positive points.

The first half of this movie is actually a pretty fun time. I enjoyed the vision that the island presented me and most of this entire concept. There are some early suspense sequences that look great and there are multiple stories rolled out to establish everyone that set up the chess pieces nicely. The first 60 minutes of this movie seems like the start of a pretty good mythology.

Then it all falls apart pretty quickly.

I’m not sure why they decided to make their story more “complicated” by using twists and turns that didn’t have to be made, but they did and in the process compromised a truly neat concept. They over complicate the story by trying to tie everything together but it doesn’t work. Soon, the creepy starts turning into the ridiculous.

Michael Pena does a good job as Roarke, Maggie Q also does her part as the most interesting of the contest winners, and there are some windows here that have potential.

Should the box office provide the chance for us to see another trip to “Fantasy Island”, and that’s very possible given how little Blumhouse movies cost to make, then let’s hope they stick to what works, a tale that truly forces us to consider what we really want if given the opportunity to make it a reality.

Fantasy Island:

Grade: C-

Rated: PG 13

Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes

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