Fantasy Island

By Andrew McManus

Directed by Jeff Wadlow

Starring: Michael Peña, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Ryan Hansen, Jimmy O. Yang, Michael Rooker

Runtime: 109 minutes

Rating: PG-13 (for violence, terror, drug content, suggestive material, and brief strong language.)

Most of you have heard of Fantasy Island. “Ze Plane! Ze Plane!” yelled by Tattoo when new guests were arriving. It’s iconic. I’ve even seen t-shirts with this catchphrase. The “original” Fantasy Island premiered in 1977 and ran for 7 years with two made-for-tv movies. It is a little before my time, but I have watched quite a few episodes leading up to this film. We don’t have a reboot per say. This is a reimagining. Blumhouse Productions put this film together. We would see fantasies being played out but with a horror twist of course. I had high hopes for this film. It has always been a fun idea and I felt the horror aspect would fit hand in hand. I’ve reviewed Blumhouse films in the past and like I’ve said its been hit or miss. I went to the 7 p.m. showing on Valentine’s Day and the crowd was full. I’ll spoil it for you right now, EVERYONE left disappointed. Ze Plane, Ze Plane never should have taken off.

Onto the film.

This movie is fast to introduce us to the main characters and each of their fantasies. I’ll give you a quick rundown. We have Gwen Olsen (Q) she’s a business professional who wishes she could go back and say yes to the proposal from the man she loves. Patrick Sullivan (Stowell) is a policeman, who wants to reunite with his father (more specifically fight in a war with him – DUMB) Stepbrothers Brax Weaver (Hansen) and J.D. (Yang) who honestly just want to have a good time. The BEST party ever. Lastly, we have Melanie Cole (Hale) who wants revenge from a classmate her tortured her. From those four stories, honestly the strongest were the Melanie Cole’s and the two brothers. Which surprised me. It felt like each segment had the same amount of screen time, but even though Maggie Q was one of the strongest actors her story was the weakest. A SMALL side story with Mr. Roarke (Peña) which slowly tied into the others. This film had good bones. Maybe the scares would help it?

The film does well at showing us each “guest” and their wishes. It made the plot easy to follow which I must give some credit. Only some. Also, the layout of the stipulations for the

fantasies worked. The rules are simple. Each guest only gets one wish and they can’t change it. (I bet they all want to change their minds ASAP)

We are then introduced to on a mysterious figure named Damon (Rooker) roaming the forest. I’ve liked Michael Rooker since his Walking Dead days. Not only is his appearance laughable, it takes you out of the movie every time he’s on screen. I honestly shook my head in disbelief every time we saw him. He was there to cash a check and put his name on the poster.

As the stories start to play out, I waited for the scares to start. There honestly weren’t any. Eerie music would play, and you’d expect a jump scare. NOPE. The few times there were “scary” moments. They weren’t good. One story has a menacing surgeon chasing some of the girls. He just looked fake. I hoped there was humor. They tried. It was strained. VERY strained. Maybe the acting would be good. Hit or miss. The two leads Mr. Roarke (Peña) and Gwen Olsen (Q) are strong. They are the “A-list” of the group. If you want to call it that. Avoid this film. I can’t be any clearer.

I’ve had some of my readers come to me and say, “you like all the movies.” I try to keep things positive. Not only do I want my readers to go to the movies. I also want them to go to Portsmouth Cinema and support local business. So, I don’t ever want to say, “Hey, skip the theater on this one.” That’s not what I am saying. Go see ANYTHING ELSE. Don’t even wait for Netflix/Redbox. This is it. The first film I genuinely disliked. I’d imagine the budget was relatively low and the producers expected fans of the original tv series or anything Blumhouse would just jump and buy a ticket. It’s a shame because given a good film this could have turned into a nice series of films. We may now get some as Direct-to-DVD. I wanted to leave but trekked on like the terrible character Sullivan into war with his Dad. Next week HOPEFULLY back to a GOOD FILM. A Call of the Wild. This stars my favorite actor, Harrison Ford, and is based on a classic novel by Jack London. ½ star out of 5 (YES a half of a star.) #SHOPLOCAL

By Andrew McManus