If you’re a horror fan, then the plot of Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island movie is going to have you rubbing your hands together with glee.
Written by Jeff Wadlow (Truth or Dare, Kick-Ass 2), who also directs and produces, it sees five very different guests winning a TV contest to travel to an exotic, far-flung isle where their deepest fantasies will be fulfilled.
This being a Blumhouse production, though, there’s a pretty hefty twist.
As Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars), who plays “snarky millennial” Melanie, reveals:
Blumhouse fans will recognise Lucy Hale from 2018’s Truth Or Dare (also directed by Jeff Wadlow); she plays social media savant Melanie whose fantasy is to punish the bully who made her life a misery in high school.
Maggie Q (Designated Survivor), meanwhile, is Gwen, an unlucky-in-love entrepreneur who just wants a general life do-over.
Ryan Hansen (TV’s Veronica Mars) and Jimmy O. Yang (Crazy Rich Asians) are JD and Brax, two fun-loving stepbrothers determined to live each day to the max, while Whiplash’s Austin Stowell is cop Patrick, a wannabe military man who’s desperate to honour his dead dad.
Turning this not-so-fortunate five’s dreams into realities as the mysterious Mr Roarke (described by Wadlow as a “sinister, ominous Willy Wonka”) is the ever-brilliant Michael Peña (Ant-Man).
“The cast, oh wow. It’s unbelievable,” said Peña of his talented cast-mates. “And they were all really hungry for the movie."
Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island movie is an adaptation of the popular TV series, which ran on American channel ABC from 1977 to 1984.
Starring Ricardo Montalban as the white-suited Mr Roarke and Hervé Villechaize as his French assistant Tattoo (“The plane, the plane!”), it saw guests paying to visit Roarke’s fantasy-fulfilling island.
Although this version has kept “the bones of that series” (as Lucy Hale puts it), it’s also been given an edgy, Blumhouse twist. By which we mean, there’s more screaming. A lot more screaming.
As Parisa Fitz-Henley’s Julia (Roarke’s equally perplexing assistant) says breathily to Maggie Q’s Gwen in the final trailer:
If you like great plots, big twists, beautiful locations and intriguing characters, then you’re going to love Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island.
But don’t just take our word for it, watch the Fantasy Island movie trailer.
Just like the film’s clever marketing campaign, it’s brilliant conceived, briefly introducing the high-concept storyline, giving the characters (and us) a taste of paradise, and then yanking the rug away to reveal the story’s true dark heart.
Still not sure? Here’s what director Jeff Wadlow had to say about why he thinks people will love his film:
“People can expect to have a lot of fun at this film. It’s scary. There’s a lot of action. It’s funny. It’s really emotional, surprisingly emotional, in fact. I think people are just going to have a really, really good time. And I think they’re going to be surprised by the ending."
Fantasy Island was shot in picture-perfect Fiji, which means you’re going to leave the cinema simultaneously wanting to book a holiday there (and making a mental note to check that your tour guide isn’t a Mr Roarke).
Originally planned as a Valentine’s Day release, Fantasy Island will now be at ODEON from March 6.
As for the rating, Jeff Wadlow originally shot an even darker version of the film, but following feedback from early test screenings, a series of judicious ‘snips’ were made to bring the movie down to a 15 certificate.
Don’t be fooled, though. The likes of It: Chapters One and Two, The Ring, Insidious, Mama and The Woman In Black were all rated 15...
Goodness, where to start?
The masters of horror have been prolific in their output in recent years and Blumhouse Productions is showing no signs of slowing down (thank goodness).
As well as The Invisible Man (which Blumhouse co-produced and is currently in cinemas) and Fantasy Island, 2020 will see the release of Halloween Kills, with Jamie Lee Curtis returning as scream queen Laurie Strode, the fifth chapter in the eerily prescient Purge saga and Run Sweetheart Run, a co-production with Universal about a blind date that goes terrifyingly wrong.
There’s also a new Paranormal Activity movie in the works, and a remake of the 1996 spookfest The Craft planned.