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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Fantasy Island (M) - 109 minutes

The popular TV series of the same name that ran for seven seasons from 1977 involved guests being granted fantasies, but at a price because these frequently involved exposing the error of their ways.

So there were perils and life lessons, but nothing like this big screen horror version of the show.

Each of the five guests who fly to this luxurious and remote tropical island resort has apparently been selected after they won a competition.

Naturally, no-one knows just what to expect.

A couple of so-called brothers are party animals, there is a wannabe soldier, a girl picked on at school who wants to get back at the student who bullied her and a beautiful woman who turned down a marriage proposal.

So, each of the five thinks they are destined to live out their fantasy because the island has magical powers.

Instead, something supposedly desirous quickly turns nasty and evil. This is a living nightmare for each of them. It seems there is no escaping their inevitable fate.

Their host Mr Roarke (Michael Peña) has a reason for being on the atoll and for doing what he is doing.

Unfortunately, what may have seemed like a good idea on paper turns into anything but on screen.

Let me say that the material is not handled well by director and co-writer (with Jillian Jacobs and Christopher Roach) Jeff Wadlow (Truth or Dare).

Fantasy Island circa 2020 looks and feels clunky. The script is too convoluted for its own good. The constant twists are wearing ... and confusing.

A number of the primary characterisations are particularly weak and shallow. Maggie Q is arguably the best of them as Elena.

Further, I didn’t understand where several of the secondary players even came from, let alone why they simply wouldn’t die.

Fantasy Island should have been something that never went beyond the domain of a streaming service.

Before I saw it, I was quite looking forward to revisiting a childhood fantasy (namely the TV show), but my mood soon darkened after I entered the cinema and the film began screening.

Unfortunately, Fantasy Island is not the stuff cinematic dreams are made of.

Rated M, it scores a 4 out of 10.


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