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Film / Fantasy Island (2020)

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"The island is twisting what we asked for."
"There is an elevator. In the elevator, you press the button to the floor with no name. Behind those doors is a life you always dreamt of."
Mr. Roarke

Fantasy Island is a horror film based off of the series of the same name, produced by Blumhouse Productions and starring Michael Peña as Mr. Roarke. It was released on February 14, 2020

The enigmatic Mr. Roarke makes the secret dreams of his lucky guests come true at a luxurious but remote tropical resort. But when the fantasies turn into nightmares, the guests have to solve the island’s mystery in order to escape with their lives.

Previews: Official Trailer, Final Trailer

Fantasy Island contains examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: In the backstory, Gwen forgot to turn off a burner she'd been using to make tea, which started a fire and killed a man.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adapted Out: Tattoo, Mr. Roarke's assistant from the original series, is once again absent, the time replaced by a young woman named Julia, who is Roarke's dead wife he brought back to life as his fantasy. However, it proves to be a subversion at the end, when Brax chooses to remain on the island and go by his old nickname, Tattoo.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Brax, who become this film's version of Tattoo at the end, is gay.
  • Adaptational Villainy: While Mr. Roarke was something of a Trickster Mentor who used Be Careful What You Wish For to an extent in the original series, he never went so far as to kill the guests, though it's later revealed that he had no choice due to the murders all being a plan by Melanie to exact revenge for the death of Nick.
  • Advertising by Association: The trailer mentions that it shares a producer with Get Out (2017) and Halloween (2018).
  • Age Lift: Peña's Mr. Roarke is significantly younger than the two previous iterations of the character, both of whom were much older men. Fittingly, as the end shows that the character himself is younger than the previous incarnations.
  • All Part of the Show: When Melanie first finds her childhood bully all grown up and ready to torture, she positively comments on how realistic the "hologram" is. It isn't until Sloane's husband answers the phone and talks about her being missing for two days that she figures out it's the real deal. That said, Melanie was only pretending all along.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: The Movie. The series was ripe with the potential to be a horror story with its premise (a mysterious man brings people to a secluded island to let them play out their fantasies, only to twist them in an unexpected way), and this movie set out to deliver on that idea.
  • Ax-Crazy: Melanie who wants all the other guests and Sloane dead for accidentally killing a man she went on one date with and bullying her in high school respectively.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Damon wished to see his deceased daughter again and got his wish fulfilled.
    • It's also revealed that Julia is Roarke's deceased wife, brought back by the island's magic.
    • J.D. is brought back as Brax's fantasy, though for him to stay alive, Brax has to stay on the island.
  • Bad Liar: Melanie's excuse to Sloane of why she's on the island is that she was kidnapped too but "stole her captor's gun and capped him" before inexplicably losing said gun. Subverted in that Melanie pulling off a Multilayer Façade and only pretending to be horrified at torturing the real Sloane.
  • Bait-and-Switch: J.D. and Brax decide to play around with hand grenades and J.D. is seen test swinging a bat. Then it's revealed they're using a pitching machine to launch grenades into the ocean.
  • Ball Cannon: J.D. and Brax use a pitching machine to fire a grenade into the ocean for no other reason than that they can. Later, Brax activates the pitching machine and it fires a ball that distracts Devil Face long enough for him to make a break for the armoury.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Naturally. The island fulfills your desires, but not in the way that you want.
  • Big Bad: Melanie, who brought everyone together so she could murder them.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Melanie initially seems horrified that Sloane was brought for her to torture, but in reality, she was planning on killing her along with everyone else.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Subverted. Damon points out to Sloane that she was unnecessarily cruel to Melanie in their teenage years, but also tells Melanie she's now an adult who needs to let the past go and just live her life. Sloane seems to take his advice to heart; Melanie, not so much. It seems like while Sloane was bad, Melanie only ends up being way worse.
  • Bound and Gagged: Sloane, in order to make it easy for Melanie to torture her.
  • Bully Hunter: Melanie mentions that her fantasy involves taking revenge on her childhood bully, Sloane. When she actually indulges in it, she's horrified upon realizing that the Sloane she's torturing isn't a hologram, but the actual person. Double-subverted, however; Melanie is faking her horror and is planning on killing Sloane regardless.
  • Bury Your Gays: Played with. Alejandro eats a bullet. Averted in that Brax survives to the end.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Sloane doesn't fully remember tormenting Melanie, nor does she even know her name.
  • Canon Character All Along: Brax is actually Tattoo, which was his college nickname.
  • Chainsaw Good: Dr. Torture wields an electric bone saw as one of his primary weapons. He nearly succeeds in driving it into Sloane's head, but she is saved by a Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind by Damon.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Patrick wears dog tags despite not being a soldier, saying he just wears them for luck. They're actually his father's and convince the man something's going on when the island brings him and his unit back to life for Patrick's fantasy.
    • Brax and JD find a grenade in their armory fairly early in the movie. Brax later uses the grenade to turn the tables on the gunmen who attack him and JD. Said grenade was also going to be used to destroy the magic fountain but Melanie tries to use it to kill the others.
    • Damon hands Melanie and Sloane a canteen filled with water from the magic fountain to prove to the world what's happening on the island. Sloane later drinks from the canteen so she's eligible for a fantasy which she uses to stop Melanie.
    • The magic rock shows a vision of Sloane and the other guests when it reveals Melanie's fantasy, cluing Sloane in on the fact that the whole ordeal is Melanie's revenge fantasy.
  • Connected All Along: It is revealed that they're all in Melanie's fantasy as she wants them to pay for Nick's death. Melanie couldn't find a boyfriend due to her personal issues all her life and after one date, she thought Nick was the one. However, he couldn't attend their next date; Gwen left a kettle on in the building, which caused the fire that killed him. J.D. and Brax were Nick's roommates but they fled, thinking he was out with a girl, not knowing they left him behind. Patrick was the cowardly cop who refused to go back into the building. Thus Melanie, after extensive detective work, decided to use the island to carry out her fantasy. She conjured up a game that brought them all here under the pretense of a vacation, with Sloane being reeled in for the fun of it.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Dr. Torture is about to slice open Sloane's skull with an electric bone saw, but she is saved when Damon appears and stabs Torture In the Back.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Melanie ultimately comes across as this; she takes care to act Undercover When Alone as she was recording herself on her phone, so wanted to be sure nobody suspected her real agenda until it was too late.
  • Darker and Edgier: Unlike its predecessors, this version of Fantasy Island is a straight horror film with plenty of violence, a high body count, and undead beings.
  • Deadly Doctor: Dr. Torture, who dresses ins surgical scrubs, wields medical instruments as weapons and uses his medical skills as both a Torture Technician and a devastating hand-to-hand combatant. But, then again, he is a construct formed as part of Melanie's revenge fantasy.
  • Deconstruction: Of the "all your fantasies come true" aspect of the island. As it turns out, "all fantasies" includes the fantasies of a deeply disturbed individual who wants to murder all the other guests.
  • Disappointed in You: JD pulls this on Chastity as she and the other models exit the panic room as they had previously locked him and Brax out, but she just ignores him.
  • Disney Death: J.D., after having an epiphany, ends up killed and then revived at the end of the film thanks to Brax fantasizing him back to life and then staying on the island to keep it from going away.
  • Disney Villain Death: Melanie is dragged down into the fountain by Nick.
  • Disposable Pilot: Just as the plane is coming in to pick up the guests, the Malevolent Masked Men from JD and Brax's fantasy blow it up with an RPG: taking out the plane and the pilot.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Melanie wants all the other guests killed because they accidentally caused the death of a man she went on one date with.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Brax has one from college, but refuses to reveal it until the end of the movie: Tattoo.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Brax has one that earned him the nickname "T", which he is really sensitive about. Due to losing a bet, he got the word "tattoo" tattooed on his chest.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Melanie's fantasy may involve getting revenge on a childhood bully, but she thought she'd be torturing a hologram, not an actual person. It's an act.
    Melanie: Roarke, this is not what I meant!
  • Exact Words: Roarke's fantasy was to have his wife back "exactly the same as the day he met her", which means she doesn't remember him and has the same terminal disease as when they met. Roarke eventually gave up courting her because she kept dying and being revived.
    • Sloane's wish at the end for Melanie and her "lost love", who happens to be long dead, to be reunited.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Patrick initially refuses to believe the soldier he's met is his father because he insists the man was taller. In reality, it is his father and Patrick just think he should be taller because he last saw the man when he was nine years old.
  • Forced into Evil: If Roarke goes against the island and interferes with anyone's fantasy, his wife Julia will be killed for good.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Patrick asks what Roarke does if someone's fantasy involves someone who's already died, hinting that his true fantasy isn't being a soldier like his father but to see his father again.
    • The magic stone shows the fantasy of whoever stands in front of it. When Melanie stands in front of it, Sloane gets a brief glimpse of herself and all the other guests.
    • Chastity tells Brax and JD they need to stop living together. Brax stays on the island and JD leaves it.
  • For Want of a Nail: Had Melanie simply killed Sloane off in the beginning, she would have won easily in spite of Gwen.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Melanie goes from being a creepy high school outcast to a sadistic and violent tormentor seeking to bring everyone to the island and have them all brutally killed.
  • Genre Shift: This film shifts from the fantasy drama of the original series to horror. The ending hints at how things are now much more like the original series.
  • Grenade Hot Potato: During the climax of the film, the grenade—which was intended to be used to detonate the spring—has its pin pulled and then is desperately passed around the various characters as each endeavours to hold the arming lever in place.
  • Guns Are Useless: The black-eyed zombies don't react at all to getting shot.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Roarke once he realizes that he's gone too far and he has to accept Julia's death and let her go.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Damon tackles Dr. Torture off a cliff to protect Melanie and Sloane.
    • While an extension of the island, Patrick's father is shot dead while protecting the others.
    • Patrick throws himself onto a grenade in the end to protect the remaining guests.
  • Hypocrite: Melanie was bullied in high school and now her reaction to that is to torture and murder not only the one who antagonized her, but others who only vaguely had involvement in the death of someone she didn't really know either, having only gotten coffee with him once.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Had Melanie not brought Sloane in or killed her off initially, her fantasy wouldn't have been hijacked.
  • I Call It "Vera": J.D. and Brax name an overpowered rifle Alejandro after a model Brax slept with the night before.
  • I Choose to Stay: Brax stays behind since his fantasy is for J.D. to make it home alive, and that means he must remain on the island to keep J.D. alive. It's also indicated he will become Roarke's new assistant, especially after revealing his college nickname.
  • I Never Told You My Name: During the prologue, Sloane calls for help and Roarke addresses her by name despite her never giving it.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Promotional materials refer to this film as Blumhouse's Fantasy Island, likely to avoid confusion with the series it was (loosely) adapted from.
  • Ignore the Fanservice: Subverted when Brax tries to insist there's more to him than liking sexy muscular men in speedos before more are revealed and he admits there's not that much more to him than that.
  • It's All About Me: Melanie literally wants to make them all victims of her fantasy based on the pretext that it's justified because of how Sloane treated her in school and because the others all had a minor hand in killing Nick years ago.
  • Jerkass Genie: Zigzagged. Damon's daughter turned into a zombie while J.D. and Brax are attacked by gunmen after a supply of cash and cocaine. However, nothing seems to go wrong with Gwen's fantasy and the island even lets her change it when she insists it wasn't done right. Likewise, the island correctly determines that Patrick's real fantasy wasn't to be a soldier but to see his father again. It's ultimately revealed that everyone's fantasy (except Damon's) was part of Melanie's fantasy to kill them all.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Sloane believes Melanie was a "psycho stalker chick" in high school. Roughly a decade later, Sloane clearly hasn't had contact with Melanie since high school and barely remembers her, but Melanie has followed Sloane's life closely enough to recognize her husband on sight. Not to mention Melanie being able to essentially locate, isolate, and exact her revenge upon several people she thinks have slighted her.
  • Jumping on a Grenade: Patrick's father died saving his squad from a grenade by jumping on it to contain the blast. Like father, like son in the end.
  • Karmic Death: Melanie ends up spending the rest of her life with the man she fell in love with after one date, however short that is.
    • Getting pulled into the very Fountain that was the source of her revenge wish being granted adds another layer to it. So does the fact that the person she had abducted and brought to the island to personally torture made it all possible.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Anyone who leaves the island will not remember the specifics of their fantasies or the magic of the island, but will still subconsciously retain what they've learned from their experiences. This explains how everything is kept secret.
  • Literal Genie: Roarke's fantasy was to have his wife back the same as when he first met her. As a result, Julia doesn't know him and is dying from the same disease that originally killed her. The island simply revives her each time she dies, with the added threat that her death will be permanent should Roarke not help others fulfill their fantasies.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • A person cannot change their fantasy, but they can insist it wasn't done correctly. Gwen's fantasy is to "get a do-over for the moment she regrets most". Initially she wants to accept her then-boyfriend's marriage proposal, but later Gwen insists the moment she regrets most is getting Nick killed with a fire she accidentally started.
    • Everyone gets exactly one fantasy. Meaning that Sloane is eligible for one, too, once she drinks the magic water. Also, Roarke lets Brax have another one as he was technically sharing his brother's fantasy when he arrived.
    • Melanie's fantasy of wanting revenge on Sloane seemingly extends from and is somehow permitted as part of her revenge on all the others.
  • Make a Wish: Each guest to the island only gets one wish, with no 'official' opportunity to get another. However, various characters find ways around this; Gwen is able to ask for another fantasy once she properly appreciates the scale of the island's power to redo "the moment [she] regrets the most" as she argues that the initial fantasy wasn't undoing her true greatest regret, Sloane is able to stop Melanie by making her own wish because she wasn't brought there as a conventional guest, and Brax is allowed another wish as he was initially sharing his brother's fantasy rather than having his own.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: J.D. and Brax are taken hostage by a gang of heavily armed men wearing creepy rubber masks. J.D. is only able to describe them to the soldiers in terms of the masks they are wearing (devil, clown, pig, etc.).
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: This is what the guests all assume is the answer as to how Roarke manages to concoct fantasies. As it turns out, it's definitely magic due to an ancient gem within the bowels of the island with supernatural abilities.
  • Moody Trailer Cover Song: Done with Ariana Grande's "7 Rings" in the trailer.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • It can't be a Fantasy Island adaptation without someone pointing out "the plane!" In this film, Julia is the one to do it. Brax later says it as they are trying to flag down a plane to escape. This ties in with the ending below.
    • In the end, Brax decides to remain on the island with Mr. Roarke, embracing his old nickname given to him by J.D., "Tattoo". This, of course, was the name of Roarke's sidekick in the original.
    • In its final season after Hervé Villechaize was fired, the original show introduced a regular character named Julie.
  • No More for Me: Brax is hitting a bong when he sees a brief vision of a burned man. He puts the bong down and decides to switch to CBD.
  • Origins Episode: The film is basically a reimagined origin story for how things in this version become more like the original TV show.
  • Pet the Dog: Roarke gently encourages Gwen not to waste time trying to disprove her fantasy and instead enjoy her time with her new family. It becomes more poignant when it's revealed Roarke had a similar fantasy.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Mr. Roarke mentions that most people use the island's powers for "sex stuff", which incidentally is the fantasy JD and Brax go with.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: When one of the gunmen tells Brax that he can't save himself or JD, Brax replies "I can't, but Alejandro can" before shooting one of them through the door with an overpowered shotgun.
  • Red Herring: Three of them.
    • First, Damon is presented as a crazed man living on the island and stalking its inhabitants, but he's actually a private investigator who's been investigating the island and wants to help the guests.
    • For a time, it seems Roarke is using people's fantasies to kill them off, but he's actually being forced to let it happen to fulfill Melanie's fantasy.
    • Near the end, the guests think Julia is Nick's mom and responsible for everything, but it's actually Melanie who wants them dead.
  • Reformed Bully: It takes a while for her to admit it, but Sloane does have regrets about her treatment of Melanie. Unfortunately for her, Melanie has no interest in her apology.
  • Rejected Marriage Proposal: Gwen's biggest regret is turning down her boyfriend's marriage proposal five years ago; she uses the island's power to live out a fantasy in which she accepted his proposal and has a family with him. However, she eventually becomes disillusioned with the fantasy and realizes her biggest regret is actually not saving her neighbor from a fire she accidentally caused.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: In the backstory, Patrick refused to run into a burning building to save someone who was trapped inside, insisting they wait for the firefighters. While he does so out of fear, Patrick wasn't any better equipped to run into a burning building than Gwen was and she passed out from smoke inhalation trying to find a hammer in her own burning apartment before she could even make her way to the floor above for her rescue attempt.
  • Rules Lawyer: Gwen in particular demonstrates this, as she is able to both argue that she should be allowed to change her fantasy as she isn't redoing her true greatest regret, and point out that Sloane should get her own wish as Sloane wasn't brought to the island as a conventional guest.
  • Sand In My Eyes: As a child, when his father was deployed, Patrick refused an umbrella despite the rain so he could pretend he wasn't crying.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: One from Melanie's past is brought for her to torture so she can fulfill her fantasy. Melanie is not happy about it. Except she really is.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When Patrick's father learns he originally died on his current mission, his first reaction is to leave his men behind so his son doesn't grow up without a father.
  • Sequel Hook: Roarke hiring Brax as his new assistant "Tattoo".
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Gwen tries to go back and save Nick from the fire that killed him.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Ariana Grande's "7 Rings" plays over the majority of the first trailer, including the disturbing parts.
  • Spanner in the Works: Sloane. Had Melanie not brought her to the island to begin with, she would have easily won.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Gwen’s revised fantasy gives her the opportunity to save Nick from the fire she accidentally started. After trying to get help, she runs back into the burning building to save Nick herself but passes out from smoke inhalation while looking for something to break down his door.
  • Taking You with Me: Melanie tries this at the end when, after being dragged into the fountain by Nick’s ghost, she manages to struggle free just long enough to toss the grenade they were going to use to destroy the fountain. Patrick ends up using his body to protect everyone from the grenade.
  • Torture Technician: Dr. Torture, a construct based on Melanie's perception of her hated childhood psychiatrist: given form as a Deadly Doctor by the island and turned loose to torture Sloane as part of Melanie's revenge fantasy.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: The main setting of the movie.
  • Trust Password: Patrick convinces his father of his identity by telling him both the story of his own premature birth (which his father told him every birthday) and that the real reason he refused an umbrella when his father was deployed was to hide his tears.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Brax is Asian and gay.
  • Undercover When Alone: Melanie admits at the end of the film all of her earlier actions were an act to get revenge, but in several of the scenes she was alone, panicking, and talking to herself about how to escape and survive. That said, in many of the scenes where she was "alone" she was also recording herself on her phone, and made it clear that she wants her victims to know why they're being targeted; she kept up the masquerade to ensure that anyone who might see her phone earlier would have no reason to believe she wasn't sincere.
  • Undying Loyalty: The resort employees to Roarke. According to him, the island gives them tastes of their fantasies in exchange for their loyalty.
  • Villain Has a Point: Sloane. Melanie repeatedly points out teenage Sloane's cruel prank which caused her to be labeled the "Psycho Stalker Chick". However, given that Melanie wants to murder five people she didn't even know over the accidental death of a guy she'd gone on exactly one date with, and the lengths she went to in order to get them all where she wanted them, maybe Sloane was right after all.
  • Wham Line: One from Nick's ghost when Gwen tries to convince him to let her stop Julia, whom they've assumed is the one who wants them all dead.
    Nick: Who's Julia?
  • Wham Shot: Nick's burnt ghost, seen repeatedly throughout the film, is finally seen as a normal person by Gwen and is revealed to be the man in Melanie's phone wallpaper.
  • Yandere: Melanie toward Nick. She wants to kill the rest of the cast for their hands in his accidental death six years prior, even though she went on only a single date with the man. She's also kept a photo of them as her cellphone's wallpaper for the last six years. Brax lampshades how insane the whole situation is.