Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Bluray from writer/director Jeff Wadlow, Blumhouse and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is a return to a vacation like no other when landing on FANTASY ISLAND.

When a plane lands on a beautiful tropical island resort, guests Gwen (Maggie Q), Melanie (Lucy Hale), Patrick (Austin Stowell), Brax (Jimmy O. Yang) and J.D. (Ryan Hansen) are greeted by Julia (Parisa Fitz-Henley). Informing them she is the assistant of their host Mr. Roarke (Michael Pena) and that he would be meeting with them soon.

Taken to their rooms, they rest up and prepare for the one thing they came to the island for – to have their own fantasy to come true. Mr. Roarke appears and gives them the ground rules of their time on Fantasy Island starting with J.D. and Brax wanting to have it all. Arriving at their mansion with a party in full effect, not everything is at is seems especially when a Devil Face (Kim Coates) comes calling.

Patrick, a police officer in the real world, is given a pair of fatigues as his fantasy includes time in the military after losing his father at a young age to war. Going through the brush, a man named Damon (Michael Rooker) pops out and tries to get him away from what’s coming! In an unexpected twist Patrick comes face to face with Lt. Sullivan (Mike Vogel).

Gwen is having a hard time with the decisions she has made in her life. Mr. Roarke suggests that perhaps she should go back to that moment in time when she had the choice to be happy but didn’t take it. A man named Allen (Robbie Jones) could have the answer to her happiness. Melanie, on the other hand, has a specific fantasy in mind. Troubled by the way she was treated growing up, her mind is set on making a girl named Sloan (Portia Doubleday) know what it is like to be in such pain.

Sometimes a fantasy is not really what one is after!

Pena as Roarke is a man who believes that keeping the island alive is the most important thing in his life. Letting the guests know that they must see their fantasy to its ‘natural’ conclusion keeps him focused but is there another reason? This is an interesting choice for Pena and the role is a little more complex.

Q as Gwen also has a complex role as what she thinks will make her happy does for a brief period of time. That is until she realizes that what she is experiencing isn’t exactly what has been the problem all along in her life. Now she must be clever to change things up. That’s where Fitz-Henley as Julia comes into play, but she also has a few issues of her own to come to terms with.

Yang and Hansen play brothers (kind of the twin sons from different mother’s thing) and believe that their happiness lies within having it all. The problem with having it all, as Mr. Roarke points out, is that when you have it all someone usually wants to take it from you. These two aren’t as good at handing difficult situations as they are getting into them. That’s where having Coates as the Devil Face show up to give them a taste of ‘reality’. Seeing Coates again just made me squeal with delight. He is still as much of a badass as he wants to be that’s for sure.

Stowell as Patrick has the opportunity he didn’t even realize he wanted. Coming face to face with his past isn’t exactly how he wanted his fantasy to play out. Believing one thing about his father isn’t the same as seeing and hearing it for himself and that might be a bit much for him to take. Vogel as Lt. Sullivan has a thing or two to say about the situation he is in and how he feels about being a soldier.

The stunner story here is Hale as Melanie. I mean there are a few people from high school I’d like to verbally rake over the coals but man, Hale gets a chance to see it up close and personal. Seeing her past in a situation that is dangerous, Hale has a choice to be kind or be cruel. Doubleday as Sloane is clueless about what is happening and trust me, everyone has a story to tell.

Other cast include Jeriya Benn as Lila, Charlotte McKinney as Chastity, Josh McConville as Sarge, Tane Accra as Fischer, Edmund Hogan as Himoff, Ian Roberts as Dr. Torture, Evan Evagora as Nick, Andrew Lees as Will, Nick Slater as Greg and Joshua Diaz as Alejandro.

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Special Features include 12 Deleted Scenes with Commentary from Director Jeff Wadlow, Original Rated Theatrical Version Included, Audio Commentary with Director Jeff Wadlow and Cast (Unrated Version Only).

I was introduced to Fantasy Island back in 1977 with the very handsome Ricardo Montalban as Mr. Roarke and I was hooked. What I didn’t realize I was watching was a bit of what happens when ‘you get what you ask’ for kind of storytelling. This isn’t that. This version of FANTASY ISLAND is more of the darker side of what people think they want to make themselves happy.

It is an interesting twist especially since every person on the island has a story to tell and with six degrees of separation you can be sure there is something each of them hasn’t contemplated. This film is a popcorn Friday night fun movie especially with being at home trying to find creative ways to keep ourselves entertained.

In the end – anything you desire and everything you fear!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.