Blumhouse is known for creating horror films of all stripes, including goofy slashers like Happy Death Day. But when they announced a reboot of Fantasy Island — a show synonymous with 70s TV cheesiness — fans were confused. Was this going to be a straightforward remake, or something darker? When the trailer hit it was pretty clear Blumhouse intended to emphasize the show's darker aspects. But viewers may still wonder, how scary is Fantasy Island?
For generations unfamiliar with the source material, this Fantasy Island retelling sticks surprisingly close to the original show. Guests show up on Mr. Rourke's mysterious tropical island and live out a fantasy of their choosing. Even the rules remain the same: each guest gets one fantasy, and must see that fantasy through to the end. But in this version, following your heart's desire often leads to unexpected and unpleasant revelations.
In interviews with Screen Slam, director Jeff Wadlow and actress Maggie Q both note the film is frightening, but emphasize there's a surprising amount of humor and emotion built up amid the scares. Some island goers even ask for more lighthearted requests: like brothers Brax (Jimmy O. Yang) and Bradley (Ryan Hansen) wanting to live the high life together, or Melanie (Lucy Hale) craving revenge on a high school bully.
The film has parallels to the classic 1993 adaptation of Stephen King's Needful Things, in which an entire town falls under thrall to a mysterious store owner's magical objects that grant desires...for a price. While that film had townspeople turn against each other, the main enemy in Fantasy Island seems to be the guests' own expectations and desires.