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Fantasy Island (2020) Movie Review

Hey you. I wrote this Review Just for You because I like you.I also like pizza.


MPAA Rating


Running Time

110 minutes


Jeff Wadlow


Jillian Jacobs, Christopher Roach, and Jeff Wadlow

I know what you did this Valentine’s day.

You dumped off the kids to see Sonic The Hedgehog X-teen times before the holiday weekend ends. You lied to them when you said you wanted to see Fantasy Island.

The kids knew you lied to them, not because they’re particularly observant, but because nobody really wants to see Fantasy Island. They just have no other options don’t feel like seeing Birds of Prey again.

If you really have a jones to see another tepid PG-13 “horror” movie from the Blumhouse tween machine, then congratulations on the coma you’ve just woken up from. Or if that’s not the case, congratulations on the puberty that’s about to ensue. From the studio that released December’s tepid Black Christmas remake and keeps reminding you they produced Get Out, comes yet another movie whose primary audience can’t drive a car for another 3 years.

At the very least, this’ll disappear faster from theaters faster than you can think to yourself, “Wasn’t this a TV show from the Cretaceous period? What made them think this would make a good horror movie?”

What indeed…

If that wasn’t enough, it’s co-written and directed by the guy that made 2018’s “horror” movie based on a game Truth Or Dare.

Wait. Come Back. I know you’re going to skip the movie. At least read 3 more sentences before you stop reading the rest of the review. It’ll fulfill your wildest fantasies.

Back to Truth or Dare. Sorry.

You saw it on a dare. Or rather, you saw it in parts and never bothered to finish it because…it’s Truth or Dare and you’re over the age of 17. You might have actually seen the entire movie but you don’t remember it because nothing about it was worth remembering.

I remember getting acquitted for a crime that happened around the time Truth or Dare was released because I still had the movie ticket. The judge and jury set me free because there was no way I could commit such a heinous crime because I was watching Truth or Dare. No one who saw Truth Or Dare in theaters would actually admit it. It’s one of the few movies I’ve ever seen in theaters where they just return my money right after I buy the ticket as an apology.

How does Fantasy Island compare? You already know the answer to that question. It’s as bad and forgettable as you made up it would be. No more. No less. As you watch, you almost feel the need to punish yourself for wasting your time and money, but you give yourself a break because at least your mind and body are getting a rest because they’re certainly not being engaged in any meaningful way.

I’m trying to churn this review out as quickly as possible because Fantasy Island was too inconsequential to take up much room in my headspace. As soon as I finish this review I will have forgotten I’ve seen the movie.

We’re all better off for it.

Jumping off this cliff is better than watching Fantasy Island.

Jumping off this cliff is better than watching Fantasy Island.

Fantasy Synopsis

Fantasy Island opens with the abduction of a white girl.

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People notice when a white girl goes missing. People care when a white girl goes missing.

Before the opening scene dissolves into the next, people are worried about the state of the kidnapped white girl. They’re checking their phones just to make sure this is a movie because nobody wants to live in a world where a white girl is missing. Any other color is just fine, just not a white girl.

We next see de-plane, de plane land on Fantasy Island.

It’s got some white people on it, and Maggie Q (who I think is Asian) and an actual Asian guy. There are no black people so we can assume the Asians will die first in a bloodless Blumhouse manner.

Let’s met them before they die.

  • Melanie (Lucy “What The” Hale- soon to be seen in a TV show soon to be cancelled)- She’s the first to point out that they have no cell service and that will play no part on the movie whatsoever. She also has a fantasy of tormenting her high school tormentor.
  • Gwen (Maggie “LMONP” Q)- Her fantasy involves a lifetime of regret based on a decision she made years ago. Like saying yes to appearing in Fantasy Island.
  • Randall (Austin Stowell)- His fantasy involves being a soldier because he really likes wearing green fatigues and listening to Buffalo Springfield in the background.
  • JD (Ryan Hansen)- He’s trying to get over a breakup but failing miserably. He thinks his fantasy is having a hedonistic weekend with his gay Asian brother Brax (don’t ask).
  • Brax (Jimmy O. Yang- Crazy Rich Asians) He’s a gay and he’s Asian (Gaysian?) and somehow he’s related to someone as white as Ryan Hansen. We’ll go with it because we’re right in the middle of watching Fantasy Island which means we really don’t give a f*ck about anything right now. He really likes hanging out with his brother in a way that’s bordering on codependent.
  • Mr. Roarke (Michael Pena)- He’s the caretaker of Fantasy Island and he’s there to make sure your fantasies come to life…even if it kills you. Especially if it kills you.

Those are the characters in this movie. The previous sentence was written because I was drifting off asleep and I was trying to see what’s new on Netflix this weekend.

The background picture of this movie is better than the movie.

The background picture of this movie is better than the movie.

As laid out in the trailer, while indulging in her torture fantasy Melanie finds that her high school oppressor Sonja (Portia Doubleday) really is her high school oppressor and not just a Tupac-like hologram. We realize that Sonja is the white girl kidnapped from the opening scene. We sigh in relief that the white girl is okay even if she’s being tortured.

Melanie soon realizes her fantasies and real, and the consequences may be deadly. Her destiny will intertwine with the island’s other visitors. And not all of them will get out alive.

But in a way that will scare no one. In way that will show no gore whatsoever. The Blumhouse way. But you knew that going in so you were going to skip this when you first saw the trailer.

Turn back now!

Turn back now!

What Works With Fantasy Island

  • More like “What Doesn’t Doesn’t Work With Fantasy Island”. If anything it’s Michael Pena’s performance as Mr. Roarke. Even when he seems menacing Pena’s always more sympathetic than you’d expect. It’s a performance that’s much better than the movie deserves and Michael Pena (and the audience) deserves a much better movie. At least he took the paycheck knowing this will disappear from theaters in about a week so he won’t be too embarrassed.

What Doesn’t Work With Fantasy Island

  • The movie called Fantasy Island.

That’s not enough? I guess I should elaborate.

  • The entire running time of the movie Fantasy Island.
  • Let me take the time to just say I feel bad for Lucy Hale’s movie career since she’s in this and Truth or Dare. I know work is work, but…f*ck. She was great in Pretty Little Liars and I would hope the residuals from that show make it so she doesn’t have to do stuff like Fantasy Island or Truth or Dare. Surely there’s a reverse mortgage infomercial or something.
  • A third act reveal that feels as comatose as the previous two acts. It’s a twist you might not be able to see coming, but if you made it this far you really don’t care.
How the audience feels sitting through this. Or maybe it's preferable to sitting through this.

How the audience feels sitting through this. Or maybe it's preferable to sitting through this.


You were already going to skip this. And if you do see Fantasy Island, I hope your fantasy comes true and you forget about it as soon as the credits roll. It’s as bad as you expect but not terrible by any means. You’d actually have to feel something for it to be terrible.

It’s Really 1.5 But I Rounded Up Out of Pity.


Fulfill your Fantasy and Buy the Movie!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Noel Penaflor

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