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.
NASTY, FILTHY, MAJOR SPOILER WARNING:
SERIOUSLY- NOT JOKING. MURPHY-SIZED PLOT SPOILER AHEAD.
OH, ALL RIGHT THEN, I’ll INVISITEXT IT.
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,
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,