A group of strangers are invited to an island where their
fantasies come true, but with disastrous and chaotic results.
Fantasy Island (2020)
Directed by Jeff Wadlow
Written by Jeff Wadlow, Chris Roach, Jillian Jacobs
Starring Michael Pena, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell,
Jimmy O. Yang, Portia Doubleday, Ryan Hansen, Michael Rooker
Based on the 1977-1984 TV series
It’s fairly common in the entertainment industry to see films based on older TV series and vice versa. Which is why it was no surprise to me when I had heard of a Fantasy Island film adaptation. What did surprise me, though, was the announcement that it would be a horror film. Now, I don’t know a whole lot about the original show, but I do know that it’s not horror. But, I was still more than curious to see how they would flip this into something scary. I mean, I’ve been pleasantly surprised before. I’ve had movies with zero expectations completely blow me away. So, I figured I’d still give this a chance. Unfortunately, this would not end up blowing me away. Instead, I wound up bored and disinterested throughout.
The story is simple enough. A group of strangers accept an invitation to go to an island where their fantasies will come to life. Problem is, said fantasies start to turn into something much more twisted and horrifying. This plot is what brings me to my main problem. The whole ‘fantasies becoming your worst nightmare’ thing is something the film talks about a lot, but never really shows it. Seriously, the amount of times the horror of what was to come was hinted at or alluded to, but never came to fruition could be a drinking game. This is probably one of the least scary, and boring, horror films I’ve seen because of it. This also leads to the bigger issue of this film never really coming to its concept. It just feels like the filmmakers didn’t go as far with the material as they could. Sure, there’s a twist and a sequel baiting ending. But, I was pretty much checked out already to care.
This is, simply put, not a good horror film. The only thing is has going for it is the actors are at least trying. Besides that, this was a clearly marketed for teenagers type of horror film. Don’t believe me: zero good scares, bunch of CW level attractive actors, and a pop song played during the credits. A horror fan, like myself, was not the intended audience. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with horror films like this. But they can still be made better.