Film review: Fantasy Island a dud of a re-imagining

The horror movie forgets to thrill us because it’s too busy being clever

This horror remake of the hit 1970’s TV show of the same name cashes in on all the allure of the latter while holding on to none of the magic.

It’s a carbon copy horror film with a premise it never realizes fully. The idea of an island that can grant your biggest desires, but twists them into nightmares, is a pretty fun concept.

There was a lot of potential for some schlocky, B-movie thrills, but instead, we’re given too many plot devices, some truly inane twists, and an ending that spits in the face of the television show.

Director Jeff Wadlow has gone from serious promise with films like Cry Wolf, Never Back Down, and Kick-Ass 2 to truly terrible horror maestro.

While none of the above films were great, they did show some style and flair, but from teaming with Kevin James to connecting with Lucy Hale for 2018’s truly awful Truth or Dare, he’s lost my faith.

Hale herself stars here, and she overacts her way into what might be one of the earliest tips for a Razzie nomination this year. The fact actors like Bates Motel’s Mike Vogel and Crash’s Michael Pena — here as the venerable Mr. Roarke — are attached is truly astounding.

Along with The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker and Sons Of Anarchy stalwart Kim Coates, this is a masterclass in bad decisions all around.

The only saving grace is Designated Survivor’s Maggie Q, who lends some emotional heft to the proceedings. There is a rather surprising gay subplot that, while wholly unnecessary, is also a pretty great show for representation.

But overall, the film itself and especially the final half-hour, are the furthest thing from fantasies I’ve witnessed on-screen.

The film forgets to thrill us because it’s too busy being clever. But a sixth grader could have come up with a better climax, and audiences will leave feeling duped.

The only fantasy I had during the film was that I’d finally get to see the credits roll.

Jordan Parker is a PR professional and journalist in Halifax, and these reviews appear first on his film blog Parker & the Picture Shows.