The Horror Honeys: A Stolen Movie Full of ACTORS!

A Stolen Movie Full of ACTORS!

A Revenge Honey Review

Fear Island (2009)

It must be really easy to write a screenplay when you lift the entire story from an Oscar-winning film. Seriously. You can watch The Simpsons, play Xbox, text your friends, and then when you feel like throwing some words down on paper, you just queue up the movie you're stealing from, change a few names and situations, and VOILA! You're done. I'm guessing that's pretty much what the writing experience was like for Jack Harry and Jeff Martel when they wrote Fear Island. And while they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (whoever "they" may be), I'm quite sure that Christopher McQuarrie, Oscar-winning screenwriter for The Usual Suspects, would have preferred that these fellas just dedicated a blog to him instead of stealing his script.

The Plot: A cast composed of Hillary Duff's sister (seriously... one Duff is enough. Go. Away), the actor who plays Iceman's twin, and one of the chicks from Pretty Little Liars go on a spring break trip to an isolated island. There's drinking, awkward making out, and Haylie Duff doing pirouettes on a dock for some reason, and then of course, a vengeful killer starts picking the "kids" off one at a time for a past transgression. (Kids is in quotations because the most of the cast looks like the should be lining up for the early bird special instead of tequila shooters.) We know all this has happened, because lone survivor Haylie Duff is regaling a detective and a psychologist with the tales of island murder, which she is slowly remembering thanks to amnesia or something. It all leads up to the obvious moment when Duff gets her Keyser Söze on and the detective rages and the psychologist rages and I die a little on the inside.

"I thought this was a Hallmark movie. Where is my Prince
Charming? I'm so confused!"
I don't even really know where to begin with whats wrong with Fear Island. So I guess I'll start with the acting. This is a movie full of ACTORS. Not actors. ACTORS. Haylie Duff is a prime example of an actress that thinks she can drift from Hallmark Christmas movies to horror films because, like, what's the difference? It's all like... acting right? Duff is so busy over-emoting and really trying to feeeel every scene that I ended up laughing almost every time she was on screen. Pretty much every one else suffered under the same delusion that they were making high art and thus tried to act like they were performing Shakespeare. Mostly, they just looked stupid. The one exception was PLL's Lucy Hale who has enough experience with melodrama to know when to pull her punches. She escapes mostly unscathed.

"My acting teacher told me this how to
make a scared face!"
It doesn't help that the story is so awful, which is quite humorous given that it was lifted directly from one of the most intricate and brilliant screenplays of all time. Fear Island is so full of plot holes that you could drive a magically-appearing boat through any one of them. The largest of which is that the whole damn island that these kids are "trapped" on is surrounded by houses. HOUSES! As far as the eye can see. Seeing as every one of these dumbasses is able-bodied when the first corpse is discovered, they could all have taken a lovely afternoon swim to any one of the dozens of neighbors and reported what was going on, but nope. That would make sense.

I actually think that every aspiring screenwriter should watch Fear Island, because there is a moral to be had here kiddies. If you're going to steal your entire concept from a beloved classic, at least do it well. Now, I'm not saying that The Usual Suspects owns its' particular bad guy reveal, but the reality is that Suspects had a very specific kind of framing device and it's going to be hard for any other movie to ever pull that off again with such epic success. Fear Island is a prime example of an attempt that resulted in total failure. It's lazy, boring, and predictable, and worth seeing if only to be sure that no one else ever makes the same lame mistakes again.
He's crying, but I realize now it also looks like something
else is going on. At least he has his "dropped the soap" face.
However, if you're not a screenwriter, don't watch Fear Island. Ever. Just don't.

Revenge Honey Stabby Points: 1/8 out of 5
"I really shouldn't have smoked all that Peyote before
filming this scene."