Blumhouse Productions' Fantasy Island landed in theaters this past weekend and, while it might not have been a major hit, director Jeff Wadlow recently revealed that his original intention was to lean into an R rating, with the final PG-13 film potentially being what led to the film's undoing. While the filmmaker might not have cited the shift in tone as a reason for disappointment with the film, it leaves audiences to speculate if the film could have been more compelling had it leaned into the more gruesome potential of its premise. The filmmaker also teased that a slightly more intense cut could land on home video.
"Upfront I said, 'Jason Blum, the movie has to be rated R,'" Wadlow shared with CinemaBlend. "And it's not. That's a great example of having to change and kind of go with the flow. I felt that it had to be R, and I thought I shot an R movie, but then when we showed it to an audience we were like, 'Well, it's not really that R.' And just a couple of trims and it was a PG-13."
Despite there being countless exceptions to the rule, some horror fans fail to embrace a genre film that doesn't offer an R rating, though it's unclear exactly what Wadlow's original cut consisted of. With the film featuring the premise of all fantasies potentially becoming a reality, we can only assume that means a heaping helping of both sex and violence.
"There'll be a slightly edgier cut that will be available later on," the filmmaker pointed out. "But the movie works, it's much more about character and emotion, and it doesn't matter if a movie's PG-13 or R – those things come through when you have great actors like we have in our film."
Critics, on the other hand, might beg to differ. Over on Rotten Tomatoes, the film sits at 10% positive reviews while only 46% of audiences gave it a positive score. Interestingly, this isn't the only recent Blumhouse film to suffer from a shift in tone, as last December's Black Christmas was shot with an R rating in mind, only to eventually be trimmed to procure a PG-13 from the MPAA. That film's director, Sophia Takal, noted at the time that she had assumed the subject matter alone would warrant the film the stricter rating, only to determine that she and co-writer April Wolfe preferred to make their film more accessible to its target audience of teen-aged girls. The film fared better, but still only earned 39% positive reviews.
Fantasy Island is in theaters now.
Do you wish the film kept its original rating? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!