“Fantasy Island,” the latest from horror powerhouse Blumhouse, can be summed up in just four words: great premise, awful movie. It’s equal parts poorly acted, poorly directed, and poorly written, and the film’s bloodless PG-13 rating hinders its potential even further.
The film adds a new spin on the classic 1970s/80s television show of the same name, where wealthy guests travel to a luxurious, remote island resort to live out their greatest dreams and wishes. In this version, the island’s caretaker Mr. Roarke (Michael Peña) entices clients to come and make their deepest, darkest fantasies come true. But when the island begins spinning them into nightmares, the guests (Lucy Hale, Ryan Hansen, Maggie Q, Jimmy O. Yang, and Portia Doubleday) must band together to get make it out alive.
It’s actually a pretty solid idea for a horror movie, but everything goes wrong with the execution. The performances are absolutely terrible, and are of a daytime soap opera quality. I never felt any connection with any of the characters. Their individual stories range from compelling (a woman wants revenge on a childhood bully) to nonsensical (the stepbrothers who wish to have it all), and none reach a satisfying conclusion.
The plot really goes off the rails by the third act when the trio of screenwriters attempts to tie together all the loose threads. It makes zero sense, yet the story is played straight and not in a wildly ridiculous way. I’m not sure even a tongue-in-cheek angle would save this mess.
This recycled, boring, and suspense-free thriller is 2020’s first contender for worst movie of the year.