Verdict: Fantasy Island takes you on a wild ride full of horror, comedy, and adventure.
After Truth or Dare (2018), director Jeff Wadlow has teamed up with producer Jason Blum once again for a horror film. This time, their wild adventure takes you to the amazing Fantasy Island, where you get to live out your wildest fantasies for two nights. The concept is similar to Agatha Christie’s famous mystery novel And Then There Were None but instead of being hunted one by one, guests on this island must come to terms with their deepest desires and learn to let them go.
What’s Fantasy Island About:
The movie begins with a young woman (Portia Doubleday) running for her life in the woods. She reaches a fancy house by the beach and calls for help but the men following her catch up and abduct her. Next, we see Melanie (Lucy Hale), Gwen (Maggie Q), Patrick (Austin Stowell), Brax (Jimmy O. Yang), and JD (Ryan Hansen) invited to Fantasy Island as guests of Mr. Rourke (Michael Peña). His assistant Julia (Parisa Fitz-Henley) welcomes them and gives them each separate rooms to rest in before they live out their pre-decided fantasies for the next two days. JD and Brax – brothers of mixed races – are taken to their fantasy house, where there’s a huge party involving booze, drugs, and models. Then we see Gwen taken to a place five years ago, when turned down a proposal by the man she loved – a decision she has since regretted bitterly. Patrick had wished to enlist but could not make it in the army, where his father died a hero’s death. Here, he’s put in uniform and sent off into the woods for an adventure. Melanie, meanwhile, must punish what she believes is a hologram of her high-school bully, only to later realize that the torture she has inflicted is real. Their fantasies soon turn into nightmares as Fantasy Island begins to play its own games with them.
Set on a premise we have seen before, Fantasy Island nonetheless manages to intrigue with a plot that promises lots of horror and adventure. The first half of the movie builds up the background stories for each character and why they wanted to live out their fantasies. But once the fantasies start to get too real, we are taken on a wild ride of horror, adventure, and even some comedy. Lucy Hale takes the lead here with her go-getter attitude and snarky comebacks. Maggie Q’s desperation shows in her expressions but when she finally has the chance to make things right, she comes through on her own. Austin Stowell doesn’t quite fit the part right but delivers a decent performance anyway. Jimmy O. Yang and Ryan Hansen bring in the laughs with their ‘goofy brothers’ act and have some of the best scenes in the film along with Kim Coates. Michael Peña is convincing as the ‘evil host’ and we’re glad the writers have given more depth to his character other than simply just making him a villain for villain’s sake. The story progresses to reveal many secrets, many of which link the main characters together. Ultimately, the movie ends on a high with a shocking climax, which might not necessarily be the ‘happy ending’ you’re looking for but still presents something new and not typical for a movie in the horror genre.
What Could’ve Been Better:
Michael Rooker is underused throughout the film and we also wish Kim Coates had more screen time in his abduction scene, which is the highlight of the film. The story also starts to get a little confusing towards the end, as there’s one misleading reveal after another.
Why You Should Watch:
Be the Grinch that ruined Valentine’s Day and watch a movie that’s full of gore, action, and comedy. Besides that, Fantasy Island takes you on a wild adventure that treats you with wicked surprises and jump scares, and balances it out with some light-hearted moments.