Blu-ray Review: Fantasy Island

STUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: Jeff Wadlow | CAST: Michael Peña, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Jimmy O. Yang, Portia Doubleday, Ryan Hansen, Michael Rooker
RELEASE DATE: May 12, 2020 | PRICE: DVD $17.96, Blu-ray $19.96
BONUSES: unrated and theatrical versions, cast and crew commentary, deleted scenes
SPECS: PG-13 | 109 min. | Adventure horror | 2.39:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | French, Spanish and English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall 

As someone who grew up watching Fantasy Island, I wasn’t really aching for a reboot, along with being dubious about a horror style version which hadn’t been well-received. But after five weeks of quarantine binge-watching, I was willing to give anything a try. After all, it could be one of those films that’s so bad, it’s good. That thinking turned out to be pure fantasy.

The television version of Fantasy Island, which ran from 1977-1984, starred the suave Ricardo Montalban (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) as Mr. Roarke, the head of a mysterious tropical island resort who, along with his assistant Tattoo (Herve Villechaize, The Man with the Golden Gun), would make their guests’ deepest fantasies come true. Directed by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2), Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island follows the show’s basic premise with Michael Peña (Ant-Man and the Wasp) as the iconic Mr. Roarke – sans Tattoo – who greets each guest and explains they must see their fantasy through to its “natural conclusion.” But the similarities end when the guests begins to watch their dreams turn into nightmares.

Each fantasy starts off simple enough. Guilt-ridden Gwen (Maggie Q, Divergent) wants to step back to the moment where she turned down her boyfriend’s proposal and claim the happiness she didn’t think she deserved at the time; late bloomer Melanie (Lucy Hale, Pretty Little Liars) seeks revenge on her childhood bully (Portia Doubleday, TV’s Mr. Robot); Patrick (Austin Stowell), a former police officer, wants to be a valiant soldier; and brothers JD (Ryan Hansen, TV’s Veronica Mars) and Brax (Jimmy O. Yang, TV’s Silicon Valley) want to live the good life of nonstop partying in a righteous pad filled with unlimited alcohol and hot women. One by one, their fantasies turn dark–visions of a burnt corpse appear, unstoppable zombie-like military forces begin to hunt them and the shadowy Mr. Roarke seems unwilling to help. If the guests don’t solve the island’s mysterious ways by themselves, there will be no escape.

What could have been an interesting psychological examination of the dark side of wish fulfillment instead becomes a dull, stereotypical and violent run-and-chase film filled with cheap scares. The ensemble cast gives it their all, but their characters are too underdeveloped and contrived to emotionally resonate. Each death is met with a shrug.

Unfortunately, the desire to try to shock the audience with an out of nowhere twist ending seems more important than delivering a conclusion that’s logical and, well, fun. During the director and cast commentary featured on the bonus features, Wadlow tries to justify the script choices but the explanations fall flat. The commentary does reveal a few fun facts about the production and you can tell the cast and crew all had fun working together, but that’s not enough to make for a worthwhile viewing experience.

Additional bonus features include an unrated version and six deleted scenes with a commentary option.

Buy or Rent Fantasy Island

About Janine

Janine is a dedicated fan of the 1940 film Kitty Foyle, directed by Sam Wood, written by Dalton Trumbo and starring Ginger Rogers, who won an Oscar for her portrayal. And seeing that film is all it took to make her a lifelong movie lover. Janine is excited to add her insights to the great team at