Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Fear Island

She was an innocent!

Jarv’s Rating: I give it an utterly bored 1 Chang, with the proviso that if they hadn’t attempted so hard to be a murder mystery as well and embraced the slasher nuttiness then I may have been tempted to upgrade it to one and a half.

Mrs Jarv is for the most part a fantastic woman that’s more than willing to put up with my various inanities, laziness and other personal defects. However, she does have one glaring character flaw that simply defies any attempt at rational explanation: she loves slasher films. This deep-rooted psychological failing has meant that I’ve had more drecky teen slasher garbage inflicted on me than anyone remotely healthy should have, and some of the absolute dogshit that I’ve sat through since Lovefilm went on the PS3 simply defies logic. I mean she actually likes Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet for non salacious reasons. Not to mention that she liked Hatchet itself. I didn’t. I thought it was wank. Fear Island was one of the more recent slashers that we’ve sat through, and she liked it. Me? I’m not so sure.

This is a pretty generic film. It’s also a pretty uninspired one. The plot is simple, one survivor girl (Haylie Duff) is found with severe amnesia by the police. Through a series of flashbacks (relayed in the form of interviews) she narrates the story of her and her friends last party- where they’ve all been ruthlessly picked off one  by one by a never-seen lunatic with a penchant for wind up toys.

There’s the usual parade of semi-dimensional (they don’t even merit one whole dimension) teen characters: cool dude Tyler (Kyle Schmidt), his brother Kyle (Jacob Blair), Duff’s wannabe ballet student Jenna, her mopy ex-boyfriend Mark (Aaron Ashmore) and so forth. All the early thirties actors do a reasonable job, with only Schmidt having anything in the way of charisma to carry the film. Duff in particular is both shrill and wooden, which badly hurts the film (I will come to this in my enormous spoiler section later) and Lucy Hale as Megan exudes the sex appeal of a Toby Jug.

These films rely on whether or not the killings are effective. In Fear Island, I’m sorry to say, they simply aren’t. Death by Jacuzzi has been done in other films more effectively (Halloween 2, for god’s sake) and is a complete dud here. The other murders are also both entirely run of the mill and completely uninspiring. It’s a bit dull actually. To be fair, there are some reasonably amusing portent-type stunts pulled by the killer in the first third of the film (although a wind up toy with a note on it will never be scary) which at least carries some interest.





Many slasher films, particularly teen slashers attempt to encroach on whodunnit territory with varying degrees of success. Cherry Falls, for example, absolutely flops as a whoddunit simply because the incredibly stupid casting of that film reveals instantly the identity of the killer. To compensate, they instead sling more red herrings at the audience than the entire Poirot series, but it doesn’t change the fact that when the identity of the killer is so easily guessed the film simply becomes an endurance challenge. In the case of Fear Island,

the writers clearly modelled the film on The Usual Suspects, forgetting totally that not only is that a good film, but the finale of it is one of the more parodied bits of recent cinema. As a direct result I guessed the identity of the killer within seconds and spent a rather annoying few hours watching events play out exactly as predicted. Mrs. Jarv didn’t, but if you do watch it (and I am aware that I’ve rather spoiled the film in this paragraph) you will too. It’s that obvious.

Spoiler over.

Anyhow, I’m nearly out of this review, because I haven’t really got a lot to say about it. It’s utterly uninspiring, completely generic and certainly not the vehicle to launch the other Duff sister to stardom. Schmidt, actually, is hugely watchable as a douchebag, and I rather hope that I do get the chance to see him in some other films, but really this is probably the most completely uninteresting film that has passed across my radar in a while. Still, it’s coming up for Christmas now, so time to dust down the Festive Schlock, all of which are fun. Fear Island, on the other hand, is not.

Overall, there’s nothing of interest to say about Fear Island. It doesn’t work as a slasher and it doesn’t work as a mystery. It’s neither one thing nor t’other. As if that’s not enough the performances aren’t really worth watching and director Michael Storey completely failed to inject anything resembling tension. There aren’t even any juggs to keep the kids interested, and I have to say that Fear Island is a completely pointless, irrelevant and above all else uninteresting addition to a bloated genre. Avoid.

Until next time,


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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

38 responses to “Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Fear Island”

  1. Xiphos0311 says :

    This doesn’t sound any good, i think I’ll pass. Dumb question, if she has amnesia how does she remember to tell the story with names?

    • Jarv says :

      Erm- well, this is the spoiler-

      She’s the killer and faking Amnesia. It’s one of the many, many giveaways (another one being that she can’t possibly have known what Megan and Tyler got up to in the bedroom).

      Silly shit- Slasher movies need to retire the whole whodunnit thing.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Yeah they do need retire the mystery aspect of slasher movies. Just kill and show juggs and don’t explain and don’t try to explain anything. Bad kids get ganked the good kid live and kills the bad guy.

      • Jarv says :

        I actually blame Friday 13th for this- the first one was a well executed mystery and they all copy it (rather than Halloween which had no mystery at all).

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Yeah that makes sense Friday the 13th did begin that nonsense but at least they executed the idea well and were first.

      • Jarv says :

        Someone will probably pop up to tell me that I’m wrong with that and it isn’t the first, but Friday 13th really is to blame for the lame slasher films, not Halloween (which is an infinitely better film anyway).

        Meh, I’ve just seen so many of them from Cherry Falls through that shit Mandy Lane finishing with Fear Island. All the same, and all suffer because the identity of the killer is badly concealed and the “twist” is about as twisty as an autobahn.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        FYI I’m going to steal that twisty as an autobahn thing. That was clever.

      • Jarv says :

        Help yourself.

      • Anonymous says :

        Jarv you’re a douche

  2. Tom_Bando says :

    It’s quite clear this has nothing of interest for me. No robots, no Lions, and as you said, lack of jugtime. And they let the cat outta the bag real soon w/ this too! thats a shame…well okay maybe it isn’t. Jarv took another one for the team!

  3. DocPazuzu says :

    Yeah, whodunit+slasherism=FAIL.

    It’s not only slashers, though. Just the other day the wife and I were watching The Messengers which, having been a very mediocre-to-poor effort up until the last 15 minutes or so, suddenly took a Stuka-like, screeching nose dive into pure shit country with one of the worst and most ridiculous “twists” I’ve ever seen in a horror movie.

    • Jarv says :

      When did the “twist” fetish start? It seems like every third Horror movie nowadays has a twist to it.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        We can thank the Nightster for that one. Ever since goofy looking kids saw dead John McClains twists have become the go to thing

      • Jarv says :

        Another thing to clobber him for.

        I’m at a bit of a loss as to who I want to punch more- cokey or Shamalame.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        COKEY! that fucking asshole has lots to answer for. Shamalama ding dong just makes average to lame movies.

      • Jarv says :

        Yes but Cokey (still not seen IB) has at least made 1 great film and stolen one very good film. Even Pulp Fiction is quite good. Plus he did also write True Romance and NBK.

        Shamalame is just that- Lame and has made 1 great film, one OK-ish film that doesn’t stand rewatching and a whole host of shitburgers (Signs, Village, lady, Crappening and I’m sure Avatar).

      • DocPazuzu says :

        There are those who deserve a good rubber-hosing more than Cokey and Shamalame, namely all the cunts who rush to their defense and slobber all over their latest cinematic swillburgers, thus ensuring that both C & S can continue pinching movie-loafs for years (if not decades) to come.

      • Jarv says :

        It is inexplicable. Remember that douchebag Goatfucker trying to justify Lady in the Water?

        Mind you, he thinks Devil’s Rejects is seminal.


      • DocPazuzu says :

        Yeah. In the last argument I had with him I kept pestering him to answer how many shitty films Shammy had to make before he would admit that Shammy was a crap director. Goatfucker’s argument is namely that Shammy may have a few dogs to his name, but that he’s still got a good average and is a great filmmaker.

        Needless to say, his replies consisted of him asking me to go kill myself rather than actually address the matter at hand.

    • Tom_Bando says :

      *I am one who likes Signs and two(2) others of Shymalion’s flix, but I’m not in a hurry to see any of them again.

      *PaZooz–Asslives needs to be beaten severely w/ a pus-encrusted goathide just because. He’ll continue to ask for more and ask if he can ‘put on the Goat Gimp Suit’. I say go for it.

      *Mad Mel Gibson apparently told Winona Ryder at some douche-filled LaLa-land party 15 years back that she was an ‘oven dodger’, words to that effect. Way to do there Mel. Blitzed or not, that’s NOT cool.

      *Val Kilmer to reprise Mad Martigan? I’d go for that. Joanne Whaley, anyone?

      • Tom_Bando says :

        As for Cokey….

        *I like Reservoir Dogs, and…that’s it.

        *I see him as just hideously over-rated, and ya know critics-it’s NOT the fall/winter of ’94 anymore. This guy is NOT a new director on the rise. Give it a freackin’ rest already.

  4. Continentalop says :

    There should be a slasher film where some kids’ van breaks down outside a scary house and they go to investigate. The killer can be some old man who would have gotten away it if not for those kids…and their dog.

  5. LB says :

    Sir Jarv:

    Here is a fine video for your significant other, may she continue to put up with your hog swallow.

    It’s Death Metal.

    It’s Venom!

    “Countess Bathory”

    Give that gal some huggs

  6. ThereWolf says :

    I’ve had enough of red herrings… and films rammed with more twists than Snake’s Pass.

    ‘Fear Island’. There’s even something annoying about that title as well. I shall pass. The more I think about ‘Cherry Falls’, the more I dislike it. I was probably way too kind in the review.

    Is ‘Perfect Getaway’ worth a rent?

  7. Jarv says :

    Olyphant? Yes- it is also a twist film, but a good one.

    • ThereWolf says :

      Dunno who’s in it – just saw the title at the bottom of the ‘Fear Island’ poster and that reminded me I’ve seen ‘PG’ mentioned elsewhere.

      Twist… gah! Watched ‘Triangle’ a few weeks ago, it was okay but again you kind of twig what’s going on. Clever, though.

      • Droid says :

        A Perfect Getaway is a very good movie with a well handled twist. Triangle is really good for the first two thirds, but paints itself into a corner and doesn’t really work out how to get out of it. Worth watching though.

    • DocPazuzu says :

      I concur: Perfect Getaway was much better than expected. David Twohy FTW.

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