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April 28, 2020

Fantasy Island (2020) --- “Anything You Desire. Everything You Fear.”

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     Directed by Jeff Wadlow (Truth or Dare) and written alongside Jillian Jacobs (Truth or Dare) and Christopher Roach (Truth or Dare), Fantasy Island (2020), is a horror re-imagination and prequel to ABC's popular '70s TV show of the same name, is the latest produced by Blumhouse Productions. After winning a contest, five people visit mysterious and remote Fantasy Island, which is presided over by the enigmatic Mr. Roarke (Michael Pena). There the guests learn that their greatest fantasy will be fulfilled as long as they keep to two important rules that each guest only gets one fantasy and they must see their fantasy out to its natural conclusion. But when their dream fantasies start turning into horrific living nightmares, the guests have to survive long enough to solve the island's mystery and escape with their lives.
     With so many TV show reboots happening in both TV and film it would only seem natural for Fantasy Island to follow suit but it is interesting that the project was given to Blumhouse production, who is responsible for horror/thrillers films such as The Purge and Paranormal Activity. Fantasy Island was a television show produced by ABC and ran from 1977-1984. The show follows Mr. Roarke (Ricardo Montalban), the head of a mysterious island resort, and his assistant Tattoo (Herve Villechaize), would greet a new group of guests each week and somehow bring their deepest - albeit ones that are suitable for television - fantasies to life. In this film, there are multiple convincing twists and turns throughout the story. The five people are split into four groups, with two being step-brothers, and their individual fantasies are both diverse and fitting. As the multiple storylines unfold the film keeps a steady pace and utilizes a complimenting balance of intense action sequences with gloomy fantasy and mild horror moments that makes for an entertaining and a quirky adventure thriller.
     The cast performances are good. Michael Peña (Jexi, Dora the Explorer) takes over for Ricardo Montalban as Fantasy Island’s enigmatic resort “owner,” Mr. Roarke. Here he plays it mostly straight but also adds in enough “humor” to be amusing. Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars) as J. D. Weaver and Jimmy O. Yang (Space Force, Crazy Rich Asians) as J.D.’s younger brother Brax offers a fun and bright spot in the film considering that their fantasy is “having it all” and showcases the close bond the step-brothers have with each other. The rest of the cast - Maggie Q (Designated Survivor) as Gwen Olsen, Lucy Hale (Katy Keen) as Melanie Cole, Austin Stowell (12 Strong) as Patrick Sullivan, Portia Doubleday (Her, Mr. Robot) as Sloane Maddison, and Parisa Fitz-Henley (My Spy, Midnight Texas) as Julia - are a bit unsure of whether they should go for a broad performance or keep a relatively serious one. Nonetheless, all the characters are good and their individual stories help move the story along.
     Overall, Fantasy Island (2020) is an interesting mild horror film based on a popular 70’s show. The story balances multiple storylines and convincing twists and turns throughout, while the cast performances were good in helping to carry the individual storylines to the end. Whether you're a fan of the show or you have never heard of the show and you enjoy Blumhouse films then I highly recommend that you check out this film.

Final Vote --- 7 of 10 stars

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