A group of Hollywood executives defile the deceased stars of a 1970s TV series in this drivellous rehash of Fantasy Island.
Currently sporting a surprisingly generous 7% on Rotten Tomatoes, Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island makes the questionable decision to include the studio branding in the title. The last time someone plastered their name on a product so obviously doomed was when ballot papers read “Veritas – Party Leader, Robert Kilroy-Silk.”
An assortment of competition winners arrive on Fantasy Island, where they can each live out their ultimate dream. These wastes of space waste their fantasies on easily accomplishable activities, such as revenge on a childhood bully or having a pool party. The lack of imagination rivals Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare (from the same director and lead actress) where an ancient demon dares teenagers to spread rumours about each other. When did the supernatural become so shallow?
Rather than a Total Recall-style experience machine that simulates these scenarios, this unsustainable model involves real people acting out fantasies that conflict in both content and tone. As the characters scramble to work out whose fantasy they’re in, the movie struggles to decide what type of film it is. One fantasy is a comedy with the hilarious conceit of an Asian person being gay (or possibly vice versa); another a maudlin relationship drama; a third is torture porn featuring a character called Dr. Torture and some sort of magic pond.
The only thing connecting these disjointed storylines is a visibly bored Michael Peña (Ricardo Montalbán in the original) popping up at random intervals to explain the plot. The effect is like watching several bad films edited together at random; long, confusing and genuinely the most bored I’ve been all lockdown.
Where the TV show starred Hervé Villechaize, the movie swaps a French actor with dwarfism for the aforementioned gay Asian comedy sidekick. The cast is diverse but it’s hard to think of a more cynical move than having a character whose thing is nonspecific diversity. Dialogue includes, “If we can’t stop her, maybe we can stop the island!” and “Unless your fantasy is to die, you should probably come with me,” which reads like the first draft of a famous line from the Terminator franchise.
Unless your fantasy is to die of boredom, you should avoid this interminable and nonsensical reboot whose wildest fantasy is that it sets up a sequel.