Fantasy Island Review

Hi, everyone! I went to see the reboot Fantasy Island last night. I’m going to jump into it so as always, there’s going to be some spoilers ahead so beware..

Each guest is given only one fantasy and are warned that they “must see it through to it’s natural conclusion“.

Fantasy Island plays with the phrase ‘don’t drink the water’. The film is directed by Jeff Wadlow (Prey, Truth or Dare). The story is adapted from a late 1970’s anthology series by the same name. I remember watching a lot of the episodes as a kid so I was very excited to see that this film was being released. The premise of the story is that ‘guests’ are flown to a mysterious island to fulfill their deepest desires, although about halfway through, the participants quickly realize that there’s trouble in paradise and everything is not what it seems.

This installment focuses on five guests who won a contest; Elena (Maggie Q), Melanie (Lucy Hale), brothers JD (Jimmy Yang) and Brax and a former cop, Patrick (Austin Stowell). The island is ran by the mysterious Mr. Roarke (Michael Pena). Each of the guest’s fantasy seems to transpire from emotional guilt or pain. As we get into each fantasy, eventually they all come together in one story. Before they enter their fantasy, we see black water secretly dripping around their surroundings.

Melanie wishes to incite revenge on a childhood bully. Brax wants to be a soldier and spend time with his father, who passed away on tour. JD and Brax (the comedy relief of the group), just want to party. Elena wishes to redo a previous relationship she walked away from, but PLOT TWIST, she decided she wants another fantasy and runs the movie an extra hour.

I thought the ending was cute because there was a small throwback reference where a certain character stays behind as Mr. Roarke’s assistant and is given the nickname ‘Tattoo’. All in all, I thought it was an okay movie, although I wouldn’t classify it as ‘horror’ as the trailers led us to believe. The story was a complete mess two thirds in. There was so much going on that was unnecessary and I felt like the ‘monsters’ were thrown into the story as a cheap shot to make it ‘horror’. I would humbly give this a 4/10 monster rating. The storyline, “twists” and character deaths were way too predictable and it felt as though the movie dragged on with trying to make the character backstories complex. There were a lot of random plotholes with how the island and fantasies operate, but honestly I stopped caring halfway through. It stayed true to providing the feel of the original series but I was hoping that Blumhouse would give us something way more dark and twisted. There was so much potential but I would suggest to stay home from this vacation.

My Valentine Review

Hey everyone! I’m a little late on writing this because everything has been so hectic. Anyway, I finally had time to watch My Valentine on Hulu. I love the Into the Dark series and Valentine’s Day is actually one of my favorite holidays so I was stoked to hear about this. This is going to be a small little blurb but I’d love to hear your thoughts if you saw the movie.

If you guys haven’t seen Into the Dark series by Blumhouse, I highly recommend it because each episode is a twisted take on each holiday. ‘My Valentine’ has to be one of my favorites, however, because it deals with abuse and it hit home for me with how they played out the dialogue.

I’m gonna go on a short, honest tangent here because this is my page so why not. I was in a relationship with a narcissist a few years back and let me tell you, that shit is absolutely traumatizing. I’m ashamed to admit it but I still have a lot of trust issues because of it (yay, therapy!). He was verbally abusive, extremely controlling and made me question my sanity half the time. The whiplash you experience after going through something like that is fucking painful. Accepting what happened and learning to forgive and rebuild yourself is even harder. The main character’s portrayal of going through the situation and moving on was kind of emotional to watch. Like Valentine, after I left him, I experienced a lot of false rumors and it felt like a lot of the people that were supposed to be my friends abandoned me because of the lies he spread. Anywho, the point of all that was because I feel like anyone that’s been in that sort of situation can relate to the movie. I recommend it to anyone that has going through it or is healing from it.

Anywho back to the show. This episode is a slasher story. Valentine (Britt Baron) is a singer/songwriter in LA. The episode starts with her singing in a band and shows how social media slanders her style (think Lady Gaga with long, baby blue hair). She’s accused of looking like an exact copycat version of another significantly more famous singer, Trezzure (Anna Lore)…or so we think. While performing a show, a group boos her on stage but she ignores them and does her thing despite the hate. Eventually we learn that there’s a lot more to the story. Her ex, Royal (Benedict Samuel) walks into the bar and things get wild after he pays the bartender to kick out all of the patrons from the venue.

I really liked the surreal vibe that they used throughout the episode. I felt like it implied the fake, fantasy dreamland you’d feel when you’re in love. The cross cut scenes between the characters felt a little silly. The extra murder scenes seemed like..overkill. Overall, I’d give this episode a 7/10 monster rating. It’s not perfect, but all these episodes are still fun to watch. The episode highlights the danger of codepency and learning to love and be yourself. Britt Baron was great at portraying a strong, yet broken character. Anna Lore as Trezzure was so good at portraying the cringy, puppy dog that did anything her boyfriend told her to, I just wanted to slap her the whole time.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the episode. If you’ve seen Into the Dark, which episode was your favorite? Also, I’ll have a little somethin’ somethin’ on here for Valentine’s Day for you guys 😁 I hope you all have fun with the ones you love on Friday 🖤

Gretel and Hansel Review

Hello, children. There is going to be an abundance of spoilers below so if you have not seen the movie yet, you have been warned..

First of all…ugh. I’m going to get into the story but this movie almost put my ass to sleep like I was Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. I love the Grimm fairy tales and I had high hopes for this but the story was just very flat.

Just to recap the original, Hansel and Grettel is a German fairy tale written by the Brother’s Grimm and was published in 1812. As (I would hope) most of us know, these stories were pretty dark and twisted. The two kids come from a poor family. They live with their dad, who is a kind-hearted woodcutter and their cruel stepmother. Plagued with famine, the stepmother convinces her husband to dumb his children in the woods to avoid starving to death, despite his contention. Hansel overhears their conversation and lays white pebbles as a trail to lead him and his sister back home. After his father lights a fire and abandons them, the kids find their way home and their father is overjoyed. The stepmother gets pissed that they had eaten their limited rations. That night, she locks them in their room to prevent them from leaving behind another trail and foiling her plan again. Instead of using rocks to find their way back, Hansel leaves behind breadcrumbs but they come to realize that they were devoured by birds. Eventually they find the witch’s house and are enticed by the smell of cakes and food. After trapping them, the evil witch forces the kids to do chores, overfeeds them and is outsmarted by Gretel before she tries to cook them. After defeating the witch, the kids find a vase full of treasure, find their way home with the help of a duck and live happily ever with their father. (Oh, and the evil stepmother is dead)

Gretel and Hansel is directed by Oz Perkins. It stars Sophia Lillis as Gretel (also played Beverly Marsh in It), Alice Krige as The Witch/Holda and Sam Leakey as Hansel. The movie runs about an hour and a half long. The story opens with Gretel narrating a fairy tale about a beautiful baby girl who suffers from a terrible illness. Desperate, her father brings her to an enchantress to heal her despite not considering the consequences of her “gifts”, Eventually, the girl grows up with an innate darkness and second sight. She becomes evil, murders her father and lives in isolation in the woods. The moral of the story (and the movie) is to “beware of gifts” and “nothing is given without something else being taken away”.

Gretel brings Hansel along to a place where she is trying to land a job as a housemaid. Apparently she is great with laundering and cleaning. The creepy dude interviewing her asks if her body is still ‘intact’ and she angrily leaves in disappointment. Her stepmother, who is clearly not mentally there, scolds her for not having the decency to try to smile or put more effort in trying to get the job. She angrily slams an ax on the table and shuns them out of their home. Their father is dead and cannot afford them living with her any longer.

The kiddos venture out into the woods alone and hungry. They find shelter in random home much like the style of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. There’s a random monster thing hiding next to their bed and they’re saved by The Hunter. He provides temporary shelter and guides them on a path to a place where they can earn their keep. In their journey, Gretel and Hansel are desperate for food and decide to accidentally eat magic mushrooms. We get to see the two trippin’ out in the woods for a bit. Like, okay I guess. Gretel frequently sees witch(es) hiding behind trees and decides to just ignore them because that’s what she was told to do. Just like the original story, they find the witch’s house (unfortunately not made of cookies and bread) and are tempted by the smell of food and the slide to play on. Holda, the witch, at first comes off as kind and provides shelter while assigning chores and overfeeding Hansel. The twist here is that Holda sees Gretel’s witch potential and mentors her on how to harness her abilities. Gretel also possesses a second sight and frequently sees the spirits of the children taken by Holda and realizes something is amiss, like the over-abundance of food and Holda never having to leave to fetch more supplies. At first, Gretel tries to convince Hansel to leave but he doesn’t want to abandon the comfort and safety he believes Holda is providing. Toward the climax, Hansel tries to convince Gretel to leave and reminds her again that ‘gifts don’t come without a price’.

Now, I respect the director’s new idea to spice up the original story. Instead of focusing on the witch, this centered primarily on Gretel’s coming of age and following her own path. She uses her newly attained knowledge and telekinesis to defeat the witch with her own staff and sends her brother off to his own journey with bags of jewels. The movie left on an interesting open note. Gretel is in a predicament where she clearly wants to use her powers for good, as she had freed the souls of the children the witch had taken. Her fingers turn black and foreshadow the possibility that she is the chosen one and she could turn into the next evil witch just like her counterparts.

I wish there was more of an emotional connection between the siblings on screen. It felt like there wasn’t much of a spark there, which is kind of important for siblings protecting each other from a dire situation. I mean, you go an 8 year old running around with an ax by himself in the woods and his sister is nowhere to be found or even seemed to be the least bit concerned. I guess my biggest disappointment with this adaption was that the trailers made this out to be a lot more sinister and horror based than what we actually got. In MY honest opinion, there was a lot of missed, unused potential. A lot of the witch’s backstory was a little messy and didn’t seem to make sense with what was going on. With the slow pace of the film, the ending just seemed a little rushed. I humbly give this a 6/10 monster rating. It was faithful to a lot the original Grimm’s story and the color and surroundings were beautiful. It just felt like a lot of the magic was missing.

The Turning Review

Hi everyone! I just saw The Turning and it was quite different to say the least. I’m going to do a bit of comparing with the original novel so if you plan on seeing the film soon, I’m going to have a lot of spoilers below.

The Turning, directed by Floria Sigismondi, is about 90 minutes long. It’s based on the original novel The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, published in 1898. The gothic story revolves around a schoolteacher, Kate, who slowly descends into madness. She is hired to be a governess to look over a young girl, Flora and her brother, Miles. He’s is a troubled kid that got sent back from boarding school. Kate feels sympathy for them as soon as she’s appointed the job because their parents are both dead and she knows what it’s like to live without parents. To top everything off, they live in a huge secluded mansion in the forest (Obvious huge red flag but what do I know?)

Side Note: ‘the turn of the screw’ is a phrase that means to make a situation worse.

The movie starts out with the former governess, Jessel, who desperately tries to escape the mansion in terror. As soon as she reaches the gates, she sees someone in her car and things don’t turn out too well for her. Before Kate leaves for her new job, she visits her mom in a mental hospital. We see her mom secluded in an empty pool frantically painting a picture. She doesn’t seem to notice her daughter at all until she mentions that she’s looking after a little girl. Her mom warns her that it’s a big responsibility and gives Kate a colorful, erratic portrait of her self to ‘keep warm’ and goes back into psychosis and works on other charcoal paintings. Eventually, we learn that Kate’s mom’s pictures foreshadow her fate.

When Kate reaches the mansion, everything around her was gray and green. I kind of got the impression of Little Riding Hood when she stuck out of her surroundings with her red coat. She meets the family’s lifelong caretaker, Mrs Grose, who immediately disapproves of Kate. Mrs Grose is very protective of the children and even gets offended when Kate tells them to clean up after themselves. She sees the children as though they can never do wrong, despite their misconduct around the Governess. Throughout the movie, it’s obvious she knows a lot more than she lets on.

Flora starts out as a sweet, playful little girl who quickly warms up to Kate. Miles abruptly comes home from boarding school after getting kicked out for kicking this kid’s ass for burning his father’s pictures. Eventually the children (or Kate’s own mind?) drove her to insanity. Miles is shown to be charming, controlling and sadistic. He tries to win over Kate by being polite and when she sees through this, he becomes a little terror demon child. He stomps on a dying fish, kills spiders, speaks for Flora, makes creepy comments to Kate. In the end, even Flora turns into this little brat. She accuses Kate of dropping and breaking her porcelain doll, which makes me question if we imagined the cute personality we saw during the whole film. There’s times where the kids make side comments like constantly asking her about ‘bad dreams’ and knowing things that they shouldn’t (the apple in Kate’s pocket or her hidden tattoo).

Kate starts to frequently see visions of her previous counterpart, Jessel and a man. When she confronts Mrs Grove, we learn that his name is Quint, who was a ‘brute’ and a bad influence on Miles. A lot of Mile’s awkward, pervy behavior seems to mirror Mrs Grove’s description of Quint. Quint died from falling off his horse drunk and Miles seems to have an obsession with them. I don’t want to discredit Finn Wolfhard branching out, but it was kind of awkward imagining Mike Wheeler describing a tattoo as ‘sexy’.

My interpretation of everything that was going on was that due to her Kate’s mental history, being secluded in the house and reading Jessel’s diary, everything was adding up to her breakdown. The broken dolls scattered around the house alluded to her fragile mindset and the false perception that she has regarding her surroundings. Even through Mrs Groves was cold, she could see her mental state and warned her about the ‘inevitable’.

The ending did well with portraying how the original literature left on a very ambiguous note. I feel as though mainstream audiences might not enjoy the film as much due to the open, abrupt ending. I respect the beauty of how did not spoon feed us the whole plot, instead Sigismondi did justice to James’ story by having us use our fears to fill in the gaps. The point of both stories was to have the audience see everything through Kate’s perspective and question everything that happened. I thought the abrupt ending with seeing her ‘mother’ may have been grandmother. That, to me, is the only thing that could have possibly made sense because of her creepy cameo in the beginning. Again though, this was kind of a WTF plot hole because she was just randomly thrown in there.

Some of the bigger differences between the novel and film was that in James’ adaption, the Fairchild’s father WAS alive, but he didn’t want anything to do with the children. The ending was also very different. In the novel, Flora is sent away by Mrs Grove’s and Miles mysteriously dies in Kate’s arms while she tries to confirm that he can see Quint’s ghost too. We don’t know if he perished from being suffocated by Kate or if it was from the shock of seeing Quint. Either way, the point of the story is to have us create our own ending.

In this movies defense, ghost stories back in the day were A LOT more subtle than what we’re used to seeing now. I enjoyed this jigsaw puzzle of a movie, although there were way too many plot holes that did not make sense. In the end, I would rate this a 7 out of 10 monster rating. The scenery of the mansion and its surrounds were beautiful. The fog and twisted trees alluded to Kate’s mindset and it gave a very sad ambiance. The film did a great job by keeping the story very close to the original. The ghosts were kind of (really) cheesy and reminded me of the ghosts in Crimson Peak. Also, I don’t know if you guys played the video game Hellbade: Sensua’s Sacrifice, but that’s kind of the feel I got. Just go in with an open mind. Again, this movie is a slow burn and the ghostly horror elements were very subtle. If you saw it, let me know what you thought about it 👻