Posted on: November 13, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

We have looked at a variety of movies: some are good to great, some are okay to mediocre. However, today we are going to look at an abysmal film. To put this in perspective, Jeff Wadlow and Christopher Roach were the producers, writers, and directors of the hilariously awful “Truth or Dare.” Get ready, people, there is almost nothing redeemable about this movie and I am about to tear this apart. The sad part is Blumhouse Productions has given us some some great movies such as “Us,” “Get Out,” and the newest “Halloween” (2018). But it has also given us some bad ones such as “Black Christmas” (2019), “Unfriended: Dark Web,” and “Ma,” and “Fantasy Island” (2020) may be the worst.

Andrew Pahl

Movie Reviewer

“Fantasy Island” (2020), based on the 1970s TV show of the same name, was directed by Jeff Wadlow and stars Michael Peña as Mr. Roarke, Maggie Q as Gwen Olsen, and Lucy Hale as Melanie Cole. The island owner, Mr. Roarke, has a group of five contestant winners who come to the island to live out their fantasies. This script is trash, the characters are annoying, the pacing is way off, the camerawork is terrible, the editing is amateur. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s just start with the plot and its structure.

Melanie’s fantasy is to get revenge on a childhood bully, Gwen wants to change the moment she regrets the most, which was a proposal, JD and Brax are brothers who want to have fun, I guess (it’s never really explained), and Patrick wants to be a soldier. You see how none of these characters complement each other? We don’t even understand why they are there until the end with an ending that is so horrible that even as they explain it to you, you still don’t understand.

It’s easy to see how these stories are disjointed just by watching one person’s fantasy play out then quickly transitioning to the next. Not to mention that there are strict rules that Roarke has to follow with all the fantasies, but they don’t even end up sticking with them. Also, the attempt at scaring the audience is bottom of the barrel. The camera pans away from one spot with nothing there, then suddenly when it pans back, something is there with a loud noise. It’s not scary, it’s lazy.

The characters are also atrocious. We already talked about how their stories don’t help each other, but what makes it even worse is the dialogue they have to spew. The script is so heavy handed; the characters tell you exactly what just happened with no nuance whatsoever. They talk down to you as if you haven’t been watching (though I wouldn’t blame you if you haven’t). And the attempt at comedy is unforgivable. These aren’t jokes that can transcend time and always be funny, these are jokes that are hampered by their soon-to-be irrelevancy. This especially goes for JD and Brax. They play to generic college stooges that like to party, do drugs, and have sex. There is no meat on the bone with these characters; they are insufferable. Roarke also gives off no mystery. I believe that is because of casting, but the script never helped. 

We haven’t even gotten to the technical aspect of filmmaking. The shaky camerawork is nauseating and incompetent. Whenever there is an action/fight scene, it is so hard to see what’s happening. If a director cannot clearly execute an action scene without insane closeups and blurring vision, it shouldn’t be done. There are incompetent cuts and awful edits with bad CGI, green screen, and makeup. With so few practical effects and little makeup, you would expect it to be halfway decent, but it’s not.

The one positive I can give is that Maggie Q does a fine job with the material she is given. I am stunned that this was even given the time of day. And to think that this movie came out in 2020. How appropriate. I’m going to give “Fantasy Island” a half a star out of 5. At least with “Truth or Dare” you can laugh at it and make fun at its incompetence, but this film is just horrible.