Film: Fantasy Island
Cast: Michael Pena, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Portia Doubleday, Jimmy O. Yang, Ryan Hansen, Parisa Fitz -Henley, Michael Rooker
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Illogical Fantasy Island may well be in parts, but Jeff Wadlow’s supernatural horror adventure has plenty of scenes of genuine terror. Your reviewer squealed and hunkered down in her seat while embattled characters strove to fend off all kinds of dangerlok on the titular tropical island managed by Mr Roarke (Michael Pena).
The apparition first sighted by Gwen (Maggie Q) in her luxury suite is given a protracted break before the screenwriters unleash him on the hapless girl but as it turns out, he is the least intimidating of the motley crew of ghouls, the most terrifying of which is the creepy Doctor Torture.
Meanwhile, romantic dalliances with nubile young people cavorting on a tropical island quickly dissipate as fantasies collide and mutate into nightmares for the ‘lucky’ characters who had won an all expenses paid vacation to make their dreams come true. Or so they thought.
Wadlow (of Truth or Dare Fame) co-wrote the script with Chris Roach and Jillian Jacobs for this remake of Gene Levitt’s 1977 TV show of the same name which unleashes a couple of twists around guests like the vindictive Melanie (Lucy Hale) who learns that the opportunity for revenge on a school bully translates into actual torture and Gwen who realises her dream isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be and wants to change it.
The mysterious Mr. Roarke insists guests must live out their fantasies to their natural conclusion, which results in the characters forced into hard choices and mayhem in the final act. The ultimate message is salutary: be careful what you wish for. If only the plot was as beauteous as the setting.