Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE CRAFT LEGACY

THE CRAFT: LEGACY is a solid 20 minutes surrounded by a cauldron full of black cat shit. It starts out as an eye rolling almost shot by shot remake, then does a 180 and turns into an interesting direct sequel to the far superior first film, but then crashes and burns with a terrible stand-off climax very similar to the ending of 2015’s awful Fantastic Four reboot. And then a “of course they did that” very last obligatory sequel shot. It’s mind boggling how much of a craptastic roller coaster ride this film is. There are so many plot holes and dangling threads in this movie I thought that the ride was going to fall to the ground long before it did. I mean…did we really need a sequel to The Craft let alone a soft/hard reboot? Rebootquel, as it were? If they were going to make a sequel to that movie, it should’ve been only a couple of years after the first one, which was released in 1996. Was Neve Campbell really that busy after Scream 2? I do know why a sequel wasn’t made then, it’s because the movie didn’t become really popular until years after it had been released. Then many years after that, Blumhouse comes along and gives small budgets to every talentless hack and their mom so that they can make a movie, no matter how shitty it is. And since the budgets are so low and tweens are that on the spectrum to eat that shit up, all of these shitty movies end up making a profit. So fans probably wrote or contacted Jason Blum at some point a couple of years ago about making a small budget sequel to a popular 90s film…and here we are. Except that this is one brew that didn’t even need to start being churned in the first place.

IMDB describes The Craft: Legacy with the following: “A group of high school students form a coven of witches. A sequel to the 1996 film, “The Craft”.” Jesus Christ, how generic was that? I’ll go a bit further this time myself for my constant readers. It starts out almost just like the first film, with a new girl named Lily with untapped powers moving into a new town and her future stepfather’s home (played by X-Files’ David Duchovny) with her mother (played by Michelle Monaghan). The future stepfather has three boys of his own and they are quick to mostly ignore her and make her an outcast of the new found family. In her new school, after a boy bully makes fun of Lily having a heavy period, in a scene more ripped off from Carrie rather than an homage, three other girls, who are witches looking for a fourth to complete their power circle, recruit her and together they discover their coven potential. Doesn’t that sound like a remake and not a sequel to you? And for the first forty five minutes out of a one hour and 36 minute movie which includes ten minutes of credits, that’s exactly what it is, an eye rolling, frustrating remake. One in which one of the witches, played by Gideon Adlon, is annoying and over acts in every scene she is in, David Duchovny looks like he’s depressed about where his career has ended up and wants to kill himself, with only the performance of Lily, played by Cailee Spaeny, barely holding everything together from being a giant dumpster fire. Then around the 45 minute mark, after a confession from one of the step brother’s friends from school (easily the best scene in the film and powerfully acted) the movie turns into something halfway decent, while also turning into a direct sequel that expands upon the mythology of the first film…but only for twenty minutes.

That expansion of the mythology is very short lived and is followed by a terrible CGI revelation, a terrible CGI stand off fight climax where the antagonist literally just stands in one spot the entire time while fighting other people with shitty CGI mystical powers…powers we really hadn’t seen these others do previously in the movie. Combine what I just described with terrible and choppy direction and editing. Then once that is over, the movie completely forgets about a dozen other characters that the antagonist was in cahoots with and turns it into an “everything’s fine now” giant plot hole. Even if it were meant to be a dangling thread, where these other characters went wasn’t explained at all. The fight is over, so let’s take the main character and shove her into a tacked on obligatory laughable sequel scene that had to be a last minute re shoot. Sorry if this is all very vague but I don’t want to spoil the movie for those still interested to watch it. My experience during this sequel sure wasn’t helped by the fact that I re watched the original just a week before. Then again, in this day and age, it isn’t too surprising for a 1996 movie to hold up better than a new rebootquel, isn’t it? Other than those 20 minutes of mythology expansion, the fact that it didn’t end up being a shot by shot remake after the halfway mark, and main protagonist Cailee Spaeny’s acting, this movie was DOA for me. Stick to the original, as I and they say. This is another one of those premium video on demand titles that was supposed to hit theaters around this time, but due to the pandemic, the studio decided to cut its losses and just dump it onto streaming, because they didn’t have any confidence in the movie. To give writer/director Zoe Lister-Jones the benefit of the doubt, this movie certainly isn’t trying to be lazy, it just comes across that way because of the budget and the editing…maybe a director’s cut is lurking somewhere in the shadows? If not, may this film mount a broomstick and fly into the moonlight, never to be seen again.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: EVIL EYE (Amazon Prime)

Well, we have come to the end of the first month of 4 “Welcome To The Blumhouse” films exclusively for Amazon Prime, and to be honest, each one was worse than the last. Enough where I’m going to do something rare at the end of this review and give them all letter grades. Just cheap mass produced potato chips that we’ve tasted all before. Not stale, such as Blumhouse’s Into The Dark Hulu exclusive movies, but a taste we start to get bored and tired of quickly after only a few chips. EVIL EYE is easily the worst because just like Nocturne, it is a rip off of another movie. Namely, it’s a spiritual, supernatural, reincarnation, Indian male rip off of Fatal Attraction. Not only that, but the two lead female protagonists talk on the phone and think it is ‘acting’ for over half the short 90 minute run time and then only have two scenes physically together at the end where we are supposed to care what happens to them due to said phone conversations, especially because they are mother and daughter. Due to the cheapness of the film I doubt that those two actresses were really talking to each other and their scenes were of course filmed separately, causing me not to get invested in them. And yes, I know that there is a pretty good screenplay reason for why they only talk on the phone, the daughter lives in the States and the mother lives somewhere in India, but what the movie needed to do was have all the actors and actresses near the same location, I don’t care where, it just needed to happen. That way there could’ve been more physically there scenes with both the protagonists and the male antagonist, where more tension would’ve been built, more suspense, which would’ve made me invested in not only the story, but everything about it.

I guess you could say that my evil ‘film’ eye was being too harsh on the film and my attention waned. IMDB describes Evil Eye with the following: “A superstitious mother is convinced that her daughter’s new boyfriend is the reincarnation of a man who tried to kill her 30 years ago.” What the movie fails at considerably is the execution of whether or not said new boyfriend of the daughter is really the reincarnation of the mother’s abusive ex-fiancee. Kind of spoiler alert, but you know that he really is, because if he wasn’t, there wouldn’t be a fucking movie. The story then goes about the cliched route of everybody thinking that the mother is crazy and that she should see a doctor to get her paranoia and superstitious nature put to rest. And of course, just as she agrees to get help, is when the “big reveal” happens. Now I liked the reveal/revelation, especially what happens right after the mother likes a picture on her daughter’s Instagram before she discovers the half way decent McGuffin object in the photo. The reason why I wasn’t into what was happening when the movie wanted me to be is that all the mother’s interactions with the daughter and the antagonist fiancee were over the phone (and only one brief use of a split screen), and all those moments, all that dialogue and ‘acting’, which again, were half the movies run time, felt “phoned in.” Yes, pun intended.

When the mother, played by Sarita Choudhury, was off the phone and talking to her husband or others, her acting was quite solid, especially when she seemed to be going off the rails mentally and didn’t have a phone to her ear. The daughter, Sunita Mani, less so, as she seemed just a little too ignorant for what was happening all around her. And you just know there is going to be a scene where the daughter finds out who her fiancee really is, but the way it is handled is kind of awkward, as the male antagonist was very careful and precise up until then, and his slip ups to his discovery ended up feeling forced and a bit out of character. The movie is extremely predictable, chunks of dialogue from screenplay writer Madhuri Shekar, who hasn’t done much else (this movie was based off an Audible original, it probably should’ve been kept that way), felt clunky and inauthentic (especially the parts over the phone) and there was no visual flair from directors Elan Dassani and Rajeev Dassani, who I’m not familiar with either, as they have mostly done shorts. It felt like it should’ve been a Blumhouse Lifetime movie, not something exclusive to prime. It all felt fake. I also think I’m being extra super hard on this movie because Netflix already tried to rip off and do a reverse gender and race Fatal Attraction earlier this year with Fatal Affair, which currently is in my top twenty worst of the year list. This movie is much better than that one, due to that the movie did have something to say about Indian culture, love and marriage expectations, and what the ‘evil eye’ is to their people, but it was still disappointing because even with those factors, it was just another beat by beat rip off of other and better movies with no sense of unique style. I don’t know if my eye will be able to take more “Welcome To The Blumhouse” movies in the near future…will have to probably wait and see what other eyes think of them first before proceeding to give them a chance.

Amazon Prime’s “Blumhouse Presents” Film Ratings:

  1. The Lie: C+
  2. Black Box: C
  3. Nocturne: C-
  4. Evil Eye: D+

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: NOCTURNE (Amazon Prime)

NOCTURNE is just a rip off of Black Swan, just replace the ballerina horror aspects of the latter film with piano playing and you get the former. Blumhouse productions is very frustrating in general. Only one in twenty of their films produced by mastermind Jason Blum is worth anything to write home about, and that one in twenty usually debuts in a theater. The other nineteen are usually direct to streaming (with one or two somehow getting theatrical distribution), cheap little projects, and it shows. Most of these Blumhouse produced films range from being only okay to down right fucking abysmal. The Amazon Prime exclusive ones, these newly introduced ‘Welcome To The Blumhouse’ ones, where they will put out 4 films in one month every several months, are the only okay ones. The Hulu exclusive ones, the one film per month going on two years now, labeled the “Into The Dark’ series, are the abysmal ones. So it is really not that all surprising that Nocturne is in the only okay category. However, while it might be in the only okay category when talking about its overall execution, the thought of it being beat by beat (literally, even the ending) of a much superior film makes you want to fit it right next to the abysmal file. Don’t get me wrong, it is very admirable if you are able to green light and make a motion picture on a small budget, but if you are a production company that mass produces them to no end, kind of like how author James Patterson is able to release 10 books all in the span of a year (I stopped reading his schlock awhile ago), then most of your content is just going to be bland, no excitement or surprises. IMDB describes Nocturne with the following: “An incredibly gifted pianist makes a Faustian bargain to overtake her older sister at a prestigious institution for classical musicians.” Don’t get me wrong, the movie is certainly watchable, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the genre table.

The definition of nocturne is “is a musical composition that is inspired by, or evocative of, the night.” Night equals dark. A dark movie usually doesn’t have a happy ending. Remember how I said this movie is a rip off of Black Swan? Has the dawn of light risen in your thoughts in what I’m trying to get you to see? Yeah, thought so. The movie is way too predictable and even if Black Swan hadn’t come before it, the very beginning of the film shows the entire story’s hand. There are several chances the film has to surprise viewers and flip all preconceived notions on their heads, but the film doesn’t take any of them. There are two things that are good in the movie, and only two: 1. The cinematography and shots are impressive and 2. The leads Sydney Sweeney and Madison Iseman give impressive performances. Although I would’ve like to see Sweeney play the sister and Iseman play the gifted pianist that made a Faustian bargain. Sydney Sweeney hasn’t really ever played (from what I’ve seen) the wholesome good girl, and while she is fine here, her transformation from a righteous yet shy girl into a jealous sort holding contempt for everyone wasn’t quite as day and night as I would’ve liked it to be. Madison Iseman has played both the good and bad girl (The Fuck It List/Jumanji) in different projects and I think maybe if they had switched roles, their character arcs would’ve been more clear. And don’t go in expecting a full on horror movie. There are absolutely no jump scares or tension, and it is definitely less artsy fartsy (the good kind for me) than Black Swan was. It’s more psychological. But due to the fact that there are no surprises in writer/director Zu Quirke‘s screenplay (she should maybe only stick to directing next time), the only deep rooted question you should be asking your id is why you decided to press play on this title in the first place.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BLACK BOX (Amazon Prime)

You ever watched one of those movies where you guess what is going on and what will happen the rest of the movie about a third of the way into it? And then once ALL of your predictions start coming true, one by one, even though the movie is still a half way decent one time watch, you kind of zone out a bit and you emotionally lose investment in the characters and what is happening on screen? That’s BLACK BOX, which is basically just Get Out (funny, because it’s from Blumhouse, the producers of that movie too) but on a much smaller, more personal scale and absolutely no racial undertones (in fact I think there was only one white character in this and she has about two lines). Yeah, I probably just gave a clue to many twists and turns within this film, but there is really no way to describe how I feel without hinting to you why I lost interest, even though there was nothing wrong with the execution of the story, what was wrong is that it didn’t go anywhere that other movies haven’t been to before. SSDD, Same Shit, Different Day. Black Box is part of a Blumhouse set of four ‘Welcome To The Blumhouse’ movies that the first two, where this and The Lie (reviewed it yesterday) came out Tuesday, and then Nocturne and Evil Eye come out next Tuesday. IMDB describes the movie with the following: “After losing his wife and his memory in a car accident, a single father undergoes an agonizing experimental treatment that causes him to question who he really is.” What really kind of irks me about the whole thing is that it stars one of my top ten favorite rising actors, Mamoudou Athie, and he’s just not getting the more than solid projects that he is capable of being masterful in. I mean…maybe in another two years, as he apparently has a substantial role in Jurassic World: Dominion?

And you know you always got to get into a blockbuster movie before you are offered other and better roles I guess nowadays. He has starred in much more smaller fare throughout his whole career. He was in Underwater that came out in January of this year, but he was in the film no more than 10 minutes before getting killed off. I know him from and started gaining keen interest into his career from one of his first independent feature debuts, called Patti Cakes, where he plays the weird love interest. He was also the only good thing about Brie Larson’s directorial debut Unicorn Store, and his best film so far, was earlier this year on Netflix, called Uncorked. Highly recommend you check either the latter out or Patti Cakes. He’s good in Black Box too, probably the best thing about the movie as it does stretch his range as an actor, it’s just the script and story around him is very plain and dry, so much so that the plot could be used in a beat by beat example in a Screenwriting For Dummies 101 book. The movie basically slaps you in the face early on of what is going on before it is revealed midway through, and the clues definitely could’ve been more subtle. I hate it when movies scream in your face in order for you to “get it” once it shows you it’s hand after the river card. Then once all is revealed, I pointed at the screen and said, “okay now this character is going to do this and this and this and this, and this other character is eventually going to come into the fray and do this and this and this and this, and then redemption story arc complete, obligatory sequel scene, end credits.” And I was 100% on the mark.

The film also stars Clarie Huxtable herself, Phylicia Rashad, and as the doctor trying to help this man gain his memories back she was adequate, but then once some things come into the light, she seemed a little too low key and under qualified for the role. Though maybe it’s just me on that one. The acting is good all around other than that, and when he enters the black box, his memory like sequences that come back to the protagonist are nice and creepy like any Blumhouse movie should be, there just wasn’t enough of them. There are only two, when there should’ve been 4 or 5, and the movie also should’ve been a bit longer than an hr and 40 minutes, where they could’ve saved the big reveal a little bit more than just halfway into it. They hired that dude that can contort his body all around to be an evil entity in the memory sequences, Troy James (used him better in the Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark movie), there just wasn’t enough of him to make a creepy enough impact like he’s been in other movies. In summation, you’ve seen different iterations of this movie done plenty of times before, and done much better, which is probably why this film went straight to streaming instead of into theaters, regardless of the pandemic, in my opinion, it is where it needs to be. The film very much lags in the second half of the film when the protagonist goes to visit one of the people he sees in his unearthed memories. It was a 15 minute scene that needed to be about only half that. When you have a movie about trying to conjure up lost memories, you need just more than two for the audience to get emotionally invested with what is happening. Only two feels like a budgetary and screenwriting cop out, and for a movie titled Black Box, it was a little disappointing to open up and discover no surprises.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE LIE (Amazon Prime)

THE LIE’s twist ending, which I predicted a mile away, might make or break your opinion of the whole film, and that ending will unfortunately overshadow how many stupid actions the characters make during the course of it. There are many idiotic mistakes and decisions that A. don’t make any logical sense and B. cause too many plot holes. For me, even though I predicted the ending, it was still frustrating because some of the scenes earlier in the film contradicted the reveal when revealed. The movie was written and directed by Veena Sud, who I just gave great praise to in Quibi’s The Stranger and I loved her television show The Killing, and while the way the film is shot, the desperate tone, the dark mood, atmosphere, and acting are all top notch, the screenplay for me was a giant problem here. You will constantly be screaming at the screen the correct decisions the characters needed to make and then wondering if anyone is legitimately that idiotic in real life (spoiler alert: there is, anybody deeply involved in politics). There are no politics in this however, only moral dilemmas, but the characters are so horribly underwritten that their moral decisions are unfocused, blurry, confusing, and make no sense in contrast to scenes that have just played out for the audience. This was filmed in 2018 and has been sitting on Blumhouse’s shelf for a couple of years, nobody really knowing what to do with it. Nothing like a pandemic delaying the blockbusters to just dump stuff like this on streaming services to give lazy pussies something to watch, am I right???

IMDB describes THE LIE, originally titled ‘Between Earth and Sky’ (WTAF?!?), with the following: “A father and daughter are on their way to dance camp when they spot the girl’s best friend on the side of the road. When they stop to offer the friend a ride, their good intentions soon result in terrible consequences.” Since the inciting incident happens no longer than ten minutes in, I’m just going to tell you what happens so you can gain some context into my review and the stupid decisions and things that happen afterward. The daughter and friend get the father to stop the car to go off to pee in the middle of a snowy forest and bridge that happens to be on the side of the road of the route they are taking, and the daughter, after a minor argument in the car moments earlier, pushes said friend into the chilly river and lake below. The rest of the movie is the father (played by Peter Sarsgaard) and the mother (Mireille Enos) trying to cover up what happened so that way their daughter (played by Joey King) won’t go to jail for murder and ruin her future. The stupid decisions literally start right after you hear a scream from the forest and the father comes upon his daughter on the bridge alone (he was respecting their privacy and waiting by the car for them to do their business, so he doesn’t see what happened). From there you get dumb decisions and actions such as:

1. When one character runs away from another in their neighborhood and seemingly gets away, the character that ran off immediately afterward starts walking slowly down the middle of the road in their neighborhood.

2. A character doesn’t answer the front door from a other angry character and thinks he/she can’t be seen in the house even though the windows behind he/she are all open for the world to see. Any sane person, if wanting to see if anyone is home combined with being really angry, can and WILL just go around to the back of the house to see if anyone is hiding.

3. The parents constantly tell their daughter to stay put, not to show herself, don’t come outside, etc etc other smart things that the daughter constantly disobeys not two seconds later.

4. Possible evidence at the crime scene is not only left and not looked for stupidly but the evidence that hasn’t been disturbed and needs to stay there is moronically taken back home by one of the characters.

5. The parents don’t interrogate the daughter correctly and ask the right questions, and the police are really really really dumb and their investigation is borderline malpractice here.

There are many more than just those five listed, and I don’t want to go into spoiler territory, but you should catch my drift. There are a few good things about this film, as I have mentioned earlier. It’s filmed really well. The mood, atmosphere, and tone is dark and dreary. The situation that would present a huge sense of dread among those involved in the real world is perfectly replicated here I think. All three key players, Sarsgaard, Enos, and King are all top notch here and their acting is great as always. The movie is certainly watchable, because even though I had a problem with it I can’t deny I was entertained for 95 minutes and wanted to see everything play out. And in a film that could’ve been written and handled much better than this was, the twist probably would’ve worked for me (I bet you can guess what the twist is already, I’ve provided enough clues as to what it is). But alas, it didn’t because of the contradictions to what came before combined with some pretty big plot holes. What it all really bogs down to is whether or not I give this a recommendation. While I was entertained, I really just can’t give it one, because when I try and think back fondly on it, the stupid character decisions and the loose screenplay keeps sinking into my brain to the point where I can no longer lie to myself. The truth is that it’s a frustrating miss and mess, plain and simple.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE HUNT

BOO!…for those of you somehow managing to read this (I think that my movie review page is still up and Adam). As you may have seen, I’ve deactivated all my social accounts because as Arthur Fleck would say (I can’t believe I’m fucking quoting Joker) “Is it me…or is it just getting crazier out there?” That and I am not in a very good place mentally with all these films being delayed, as Kristoff from Frozen would say, except I’m replacing the word ICE, “Film is my life!” But, I braved the overcautious storm (I’m taking COVID-19 seriously, but probably still not as serious as I should) and went and saw the already delayed from September of last year due to Trump tweeting and being a fucking moron as he’s always been, THE HUNT. The Hunt was delayed mainly because it turned into a controversial film back in September 2019 because of two mass shooting thathad just taken place at the time, and Trump had to tweet about the movie because it is political satire in nature, and that orange cocksucker just can’t seem to keep his dumb fucking mouth shut and hadn’t even seen it yet. The Hunt isn’t that controversial. It’s a fucking political satire that is completely neutral. It caters to both sides and makes jokes on both sides of the political coin. It even has a funny as fuck little twist that changes everything in the end. As for me, I had a lot of fun with the film especially whenever Betty Gilpin was on screen, her character and her demeanor, especially at this time in the world, kicked a whole bunch of ass and was completely “applaud in the theater” kind of worthy. And I hate politics, but I laughed at all the jokes. I know a lot of you probably will refuse to go to the theaters right about now, so this recommendation is for when it hits on demand in the next several months.

Anyway, to try not and spoil stuff as much as I can, I’ll just say that the plot is basically what you saw in trailers in the theater/online or on TV spots at home. A group of rich people, led by Hilary Swank, kidnap and hunt a group of poor people, Betty Gilpin (Netflix’s Glow), being the smartest of the bunch. Or is that what is really going on? The movie has a late game twist that changes what you think and saw, yet not really. It’s hard to explain without spoiling it, but I don’t even want to do a spoiler paragraph this review, I’m going to either A. make you wise up and go to the movies or B. make you watch it when you get home. Although, who am I kidding really, as the whole synopsis is probably already spoiled on Reddit or some other website. But if you have any interest, watch it fresh like I did. You’ll have more fun. Also, as you’ve seen in marketing, there are a shit ton of familiar faces in this. I can warn you though, please don’t get too attached to them, as more than half of them get killed in unique and violent ways before the 1st act is even completed. And the movie has a unique way of making you feel differently about them long after they are dead (has to do with the twist). You have B and C list celebs like Emma Roberts, Justin Hartley (that sexy brother on This Is Us), Glenn Howerton (Dennis on It’s Always Sunny, Ike Barinholtz, etc. I have a feeling some of their work on this was less than an hour. But I can imagine they had a load of fun subverting audiences expectations. In fact, if you watch this film and think about it, there are really maybe only a handful of set pieces. But that is Blumhouse productions for you. They know how to make films really really fucking cheap.

I laughed at the political satire (which was over the top as fuck but the movie managed to keep it believable), there were a couple of tense moments, I jumped in my seat when some celebrities head was blown off, and the final fight scene between Hilary Swank and Betty Gilpin was fucking fun as fuck to watch. It was co-written by Damon Lindelof, and while he still gets shit for the end of Lost, Prometheus and the Kahn bullshit in Star Trek Into Darkness, lately, with The Leftovers and Watchmen on HBO, he has redeemed himself a bit. It was nice seeing his tongue in cheek here without the missteps of his previous films. It was a good time at the movies, especially when Bloodshot tonight might be my final theatrical experience for awhile (don’t worry, will still review the dribble that gets released on Netflix, Hulu, Prime, and Disney + over the next couple of months). Writing this review has really helped me a little mentally. It’s been a pretty depressing and dark 24 hrs. But I’ve managed to put a few pieces of me back together, enough to write this review for you, which ya’ll won’t be going to the movies, so I guess my review is your entertainment? Hopefully…maybe? Just know that I appreciate you reading this if you are. My social media will still remain dark for quite some time, I don’t know when I’ll be “officially” back. If ever. But unofficially, with my reviews, I’m here. You, at the time of the post, can know I’m still alive, haven’t killed myself and maybe rest easy in not trying to hunt me down via text or phone call to make sure I’m okay. I’m…okay. Prepare for reviews all weekend. The show must go on.

P.S. By the way, if you put thoughts and prayers under the comment section on my Film Review Page or my wife’s page, or try to text me that shit, I will hunt you down and kill you myself. You know you do that just to fucking hear yourself talk and give yourselves a pat on the back for being “concerned.” Fuck you. Just be satisfied I posted something and read my review for The Hunt. Don’t be a cunt.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: FANTASY ISLAND (2020)(one marked spoiler paragraph)

What…in the actual fuck…happened with FANTASY ISLAND (2020) that made me so badly wish that my fantasy be my eyes being gouged out and my ears cut off so I wouldn’t have to endure the movie any longer? Add to that an extra fantasy to wipe my memory of its existence after it was all over. Never, ever have I’ve seen a great concept to a feature film, let alone one from an old television show, be so terribly fucked up in its execution. I mean, where to start? This will mostly be a spoiler free review with one big marked spoiler paragraph trying to explain why half of the shit that happens plot and twist wise doesn’t make any fucking sense. The main problem of the movie is this: it didn’t know what it wants to be. Someone in a different review, I believe it was on JoBlo.com pointed out that, while the movie was marketing as a horror/thriller take on an old television show that was the exact opposite, the movie isn’t scary…at all. Then the movie tries to switch gears and genres several times, but never quite fully becomes those genres. It tries to become an action film, but fails miserably at that. It tries to inject some drama into the affair, epic fail. And at one point it even tries to become…a comedy. I’ll let you guess which of the genres it failed the worst at. I’ll give you a hint…I laughed at parts you weren’t supposed to laugh at. Combined with a last minute twist that is so ridiculous that when you look back on scenes beforehand you’d realize it didn’t make any sense, Fantasy Island is a disaster…at Frye Festival like proportions.

If you live under a nostalgic bridge, you should know that Fantasy Island was first a very popular show aired in the late 70s and finished in the early 80s. It starred Kahn errr…Ricardo Montalbahn as Mr. Roake, who, along with his small person sidekick Tattoo, ran an island where literally anything you desired could become true. There was no limits to your imagination. That show, from the few episodes I’ve seen, I was born in 1986, mostly mixed comedy and some drama (a little dash of the supernatural) with a little dash of adventure, and (from what little I saw) mixed those genres really well. The islands visitors fantasies were grand and imaginative, but as you could guess, they wouldn’t go quite as how they pictured things, but then again, it limited itself to comedy, drama, and some adventure. This film, at first, tries to do milk the one untapped resource that the television show never represented: horror. And, pun intended, it does so horribly. Instead of just sticking to horror, the real problem with the movie is that it changes its mind constantly throughout the film what it wants to do with the source material. And it does so because it feels like what they were doing previously wasn’t working. They are correct, and in that case, while they were writing the damn script, they should’ve just given up and threw it in the garbage, knowing not to mess with what came before. That or hire writers that were actually up to the task of bringing something meaning full to the big screen. Nope, they had to endure, and what they thought would be the perfect mixture of all genres you can think of (a la the recent Parasite, seriously, if you haven’t seen Parasite yet you are a moron), ends up being a Frankenstein monster of different pieces that are duct taped to a whole with absolutely no stability whatsoever.

In this incarnation, a bunch of contest winners are flown to the island with dumb cliched fantasies of their own. Lucy Hale wants revenge on a childhood bully, Maggie Q (why the fuck is she in this? she’s better than this) wants a do over on her life by saying yes to a man’s proposal she rejected 5 years before, Ryan Hansen and Jimmy O. Yang do the dude bro thing (they are brothers by marriage in this) and just want to “have it all,” and finally Austin Stowell wants to enlist in a war in honor of his late father. There is no Tattoo (yet, I have expected him to be an exact opposite of the Tattoo in the television series and be some tall, lurking muscular monster), but Mr. Roarke is there, played by Michael Pena, the one and only small good part about the movie (his performance). Needless to say, this movie being marketed as a horror/thriller version of the television show many grew up watching, their fantasies turn into nightmares and thus turn into nightmares of the audience actually sitting through the below mediocrity the movie itself represents. And if you think this is just my opinion, you should’ve been at the theater my friend Kim and I, went to. Everybody was laughing at parts that we weren’t meant to laugh at, with groans after it ended yet sighs of relief that we were finally leaving the theater after that torture.

***BEGINNING OF GIANT SPOILER PARAGRAPH** The movie ends up trying to throw one too many dumb twists and turns into the affair to hide the fact that their ultimate villain twist doesn’t really work so well when you think of the scenes that came before that contained him/her (I’ll reveal who it is in a second). The first several twists, other than that the fantasies aren’t what they are cracked up to be) have the film trying to be too much like Inception, where there are fantasies within fantasies, on top of different fantasies that were started before the guests even arrived to the island. It turns out that all these different people share a connection to each other where they all were either there or had to do with one fateful night where an apartment complex caught fire and claimed the life of one of its inhabitants. Can you see where this is going? Well, in case you don’t, those new guests of the island are actually part of a fantasy of someone who arrived there before them, wanting revenge against these people because they all had a part (albeit accidental) in that person’s death (a male) who died in this apartment complex fire. They at first think it is his mother that is exacting her revenge for the death of her son, and that mother is the main female concierge on the island, right hand woman to Mr. Roarke, but it turns out it is just Lucy Hale, all because she didn’t get to go on a first date with a cute guy that had asked her out when nobody would give her the time of day in high school because of her bully. I SHIT YOU NOT. Lucy Hale’s character (by the way, I can’t ever see Lucy Hale as a villain, she’s just so darn effective at being tiny and cute, and that is most of the characters she plays, and the fact that she was nice when I met her in real life) claims she was acting the whole time, but scenes from the beginning of the film, mainly the ones that show her getting ready and reacting to torturing her high school bully, end up making this twist not make one lick of fucking sense. It is never explained on the television show how the island is able to grant these wishes come true, but the movie horribly does. Straight out of what looked like the abandoned third act set of Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides, in the middle of the island is a magical rock that water hits it, and then the water is put into the island’s drinks, and the water is able to read your mind and fulfill your fantasy…AGAIN, I SHIT YOU NOT. And for my final what the fuck, it turns out this whole movie is basically a PREQUEL to the television series because Mr. Roarke, at the end of the film, decides that the island won’t be a place for revenge, but for redemption of character and only happy and heartfelt fantasies will take place from then on (this is after Lucy Hale’s character has been thwarted). One of the guests stays behind, Jimmy O. Yang’s character, because the island will fulfill your fantasy forever, as long as you stay on the island, and his brother dies near the end of the film, but his fantasy is for him to be alive and go live his life on the mainland, so Ryan Hansen magically is alive again on the plane heading home with the rest of the survivors. Mr. Roarke wants to give Yang’s character a nickname, so he goes by his brother’s nickname for him, Tattoo, because Yang has a tattoo of the word ‘Tattoo’ on his chest near his left nipple…do I ever need to repeat myself on the I SHIT YOU NOT??? **END OF GIANT SPOILER PARAGRAPH**

The movie doesn’t work on any level. In the end it plays out like a shitty higher budgeted SciFi Network original, but almost bad on the scale of any Sharknado movie you’ve seen. All the more frustrating because the low indie Blumhouse produced this, which has produced great horror films such as Get Out, and while this film is gorgeous to look at (it was actually filmed on Fiji Islands), it’s just so damn awful in its execution I can’t even recommend it on either a “so bad its good” level or if you took it as one big goofy comedy and just laughed at the entire thing type affair. I don’t know who thought to ultimately green light this (probably Jason Blum) but whoever did needs their head examined thoroughly. In the end I should’ve seen all the signs. First, it wasn’t screened for critics, which is a bad thing in its own right, but even with that, there are usually Thursday night late shows if people want to get ahead of the weekend crowds. There were NO Thursday late shows, which just screams cover up. Now it has less than 10% on Rotten Tomatoes…which usually you take that site with a grain of salt, but with this film it is very much warranted. I was actually looking forward to this, because the team that wrote and directed this, also wrote and directed Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare, which at the end of the day, the mythology in that movie was so juicy yet bat shit crazy it became a guilty pleasuure, so bad it’s good film for me. I was hoping this would be on the same level, but it isn’t even near the same continent, let alone the same island.