review by Bobby Blakey
There have been numerous TV shows that have made the transition to the big screen but more often than not they just don’t work. I love when they put a new twist on it whether it be more comical like 21 Jump Street or Horror like The Banana Splits. Now Blumhouse is putting their horror twist on an unexpected series Fantasy Island with Michael Pena stepping into the iconic role of Mr. Roarke. Could this film offer up that something new and special to make it work or will it fail to live up to your wildest fantasies?
Fantasy Island follows the enigmatic Mr. Roarke who makes the secret dreams of his lucky guests come true at a luxurious but remote tropical resort. But when the fantasies turn into nightmares, the guests have to solve the island’s mystery in order to escape with their lives. Like most in the 70s and 80s I was a fan of the original series but not so much the reboot that hit ABC in 1998. This latest take brings a darker tone to it all, but not near as much horror as I expected. This didn’t make it any less entertaining, but there are some elements that just didn’t work for me.
I enjoyed the movie as a whole, where as it allows the viewer to bounce through four separate stories with each offering up their own unique experience. I really dug the twists and turns of these story elements including some clever ways to get them to come together without getting too campy. Where it stumbled for me comes in the island explanation and direction to try to get out of it all. This offered too much forced information that just wasn’t necessary to the overall mystery of it all and in turn felt forced to me as though we needed an answer.
I get the tone they were going for, but I wish they had left it with some of the simplistic explained elements which would have been plenty to drive it forward. Despite this element the rest of the film worked for the direction
they went with the story. If you are expecting a scary horror flick then you will be sorely disappointed as it plays up more as a thriller of sorts instead. I really liked Michael Pena as the latest Mr. Roarke and for those wondering where Tattoo is, there is reference made to him for the old school fans.
I hope this film does well enough to spawn a franchise as there are so many open directions to tell varying stories and will be interesting to see how they spin it after the finale here. In addition to the film this release features bonus content including commentary, deleted scenes and both unrated and theatrical versions of the film. Live out your dreams with Fantasy Island available now on digital, Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Home Entertainment.