A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blumhouse's Fantasy Island is a horror take on the classic 1970s-'80s TV series. Just like on the show, characters' fantasies never go as expected -- but in this slasher-like version, that means tons of violence and blood. Scenes of fun and contentment turn into intense peril, and people are killed in a variety of ways: They're gunned down, stabbed, and blown up. There are also scenes of torture and some with frightening, zombie-like creatures. Expect to see lots of flashy partying early on, with barely clad people, a lavish house, free-flowing cocktails, and mentions of drug use (one main character is shown lighting a bong). Sexual innuendo gets fairly racy, but it's mostly talk. Speaking of talk, expect to hear a few swear words ("a--hole," "s--t," etc.). The movie deals with themes of regret, forgiveness, bullying, and loss. The diverse cast includes Michael Pena, Lucy Hale, Maggie Q, Portia Doubleday, and Jimmy Yang.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
Is it any good?
Making the twisty, turny TV series into a suspenseful horror film is logical fun, and its cornball/eye-roll moments are, as Mr. Roarke would say, a part of the adaptation's natural conclusion. In this take on the concept, the island's guests won their trip in a promotional contest and will get their wish fulfilled during their visit. They arrive with a healthy amount of skepticism: Some want something shallow, others are looking for deep and emotional. The series always left the source of the island's powers -- and the details of Roarke's involvement -- a mystery. In Blumhouse's Fantasy Island, some of those answers are revealed.
At times, characters' choices lack common sense, or something happens that's never really explained. You're probably meant to brush those moments off as "well, you know, the island," but once your brain has acknowledged that the story has gone off the rails, it's too late. Some modern-day horror elements pop up, more to make your stomach knot up than because they have a place in the plot. Really, the whole scenario is nightmare fulfillment (rather than wish fulfillment), but while younger viewers might carry some of the film's scarier images away with them, because the story is clearly in the land of pretend, lingering impact seems unlikely. What might stick better is an awareness of consequences. Bottom line? This is an enjoyable, fresh angle on horror, but it's not terribly memorable. Roarke himself tells the visitors that their experience on the island will be like a dream: They won't remember what happened as much as they recall the feeling it gave them. That could just as easily define this film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the theme of regret and consequences in Blumhouse's Fantasy Island. Is there anything in the film you can really take away and apply to real life?
How does this film compare to other scary movies you've seen? Why is it sometimes fun to be scared? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
This film takes an established entertainment property and reshapes it into a horror film. What other movies and series could you flip into a horror film?
Discuss the diversity of the cast. Why is representation important in the media?
- In theaters: February 14, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: April 14, 2020
- Cast: Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Michael Pena
- Director: Jeff Wadlow
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence, terror, drug content, suggestive material and brief strong language
- Last updated: May 7, 2020
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