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Review Fantasy Island (2020): Another example where the PG-rating has hurt the potential!

genre: horror, thriller, adventure, fantasy

A remake of a TV Show that many people including me loved turned into a horror film? Now that could be interesting.

Unfortunately the film plays it far too safe. It's PG-13 and almost bloodless. And in this case a very bad thing. Because the one element that could have made this truly compelling had it gone over the top in Saw country and embrace the gore and terror from that franchise. It would have been a direct contrast to the old show that while containing fantastic elements was never scary. Although thinking about it the original Mr. Roarke, Ricardo Montalban could be very menacing at times. The new Mr. Roarke played by Michael Peña tries to mimic him but sorry to say he is nothing like Montalban. He in my opinion is very wrong for the role. His performance might have worked had this been a comedy or parody in the same vein as Scary Movie. I would not have minded this approach either. However for some unknown reason Fantasy Island is far too serious for it's own good. It also makes the mistake to have this aimed at a younger audience. Why? They don't know the show. People of my age do. And we are still plentiful. Probably the only reason why this film commercially was still a hit. Nostalgia is a big motivator.    

Fantasy Island mostly is a murder mystery without red herrings and true surprises. I don't really understand this. If you are not going to show blood or gore then why not have a high body count. That way they would have created some tension and would have made the mystery elements more compelling. Besides it would have been a way to misdirect like crazy. Figuring out who the killer is or could be is one of the most fun elements in a whodunnit. A missed opportunity if you ask me.

Still there were some moments in it that won me over. Especially towards the end it became clear what direction it was heading. For fans of the old show that is a nice nod. And could lead to a sequel. If that occurs I do hope they will forsake the PG rating and properly venture into the horror genre. Overall Fantasy Island is decent enough while it lasts. Can I recommend it? Not really, but that's about it.

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