Do not book a trip to “Fantasy Island”

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

Ellie Armstrong

A small plane eases into a landing along a picturesque coast, oblivious to the dangers lurking within the mansion and jungle before it. Five passengers get out and, through stiff dialogue, reveal their defining personality traits, which will overpower all attempts at character development for the next hour and 49 minutes. Melanie, played by Lucy Hale from “Pretty Little Liars,” smirks at her surroundings, already giving away her only trait: sassy.

“This place doesn’t suck,” she says.

Unfortunately for movie-goers, the film certainly does. Released on Valentine’s Day, Blumhouse’s “Fantasy Island” is the horror movie reboot of the TV drama that aired from 1978-1984. Directed by Jeff Wadlow, it follows five guests as their wildest fantasies are fulfilled by the mysterious Mr. Roarke, played by Michael Peña. As each dream slowly becomes a nightmare, the guests must work together to get off the island.

Melanie desires revenge on a childhood bully. Randall, played by Austin Stowell, wants to experience military combat. Elena, played by Maggie Q, wants to change an event of her past, while brothers Bradley and Brax, actors Ryan Hansen and Jimmy O. Yang, wish for a life of partying. As the pieces fall into place, they are aided by a kind-of-random, wise man named Morgan, played by Michael Rooker.

The last 15 minutes or so feature a predictable twist that finally brings about the falling action and connects the crammed-in storylines. Though the structure of the movie is questionable, the ending does serve as a nice lead-in to the TV show.

What “Fantasy Island” lacks in overall plot, natural dialogue, and character development, the movie attempts to make up for with an abundance of horror movie cliches… and explosions. Murderous doctors, gunmen with cheesy masks, muddy footprints, the undead, damsels in distress, hidden rooms, foreign badguys, dumb blondes, and bad cell reception lead the list of ‘been there, seen that’ elements. The characters unoriginally wade through black, snake-infested waters; give the ‘splitting up’ technique a go; and willingly walk into dark basements.

On the bright side, certain aspects of the movie are entertaining and most of the characters are likable. The lengthy individual storylines are well thought out, though the focus on each leads to a rushed overall plot. Still, laughing through the cliches and cheesy moments made it all a little less cringey. 

I would not recommend seeing “Fantasy Island” in theaters, but if you are looking for a bad movie that is not bad for a good laugh, you can probably see it for free on a streaming service soon. As Morgan tells Melanie:

“Revenge isn’t going to fix you. Only you can fix you.” 

In the case of this movie, nothing can fix it.