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April Fool's Day
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April Fool's Day (1986)

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Plot Summary:
"A group of college friends gather together at an island mansion belonging to Foreman to celebrate their final year of school. They soon discover that each has a hidden secret and as they are revealed they end up dead. Yet are they really dead or are they just part of the very real and cruel April Fool's jokes. The hostess is the only one who knows what's going on but then again is it really her."


Reviewer: Matt Molgaard @mattmolgaard
Location:California, USA
Review Date: 31 March 2011 My Rating: out of 5

 

I’ll openly confess to possessing an unbridled love of cheesy 1980’s slasher flicks. For me, there’s something immensely enjoyable about a film so terrible it captivates you for all the wrong reasons. The predictability of it all, the tongue-in-cheek humor…just the overall over-the-top feel to 95 percent of these horrid films tickle me in a major way. Knowing of this personal idiosyncrasy, you’d probably expect me to love the minor cult favorite April Fool’s Day; oh how wrong you’d be. This is one stinker of a slasher, and there’s just no two ways about it. If I had a Delorean I’d travel back to 1986 and strongly advise Fred Walton avoid this repulsive project.

As the title suggests, the story obviously focuses on the most annoying day in existence, and coincidentally enough, just about every character on screen is equally off putting. The “action” begins on a rickety vessel that transports a group of friends to a small island where Muffy, a longtime friend of the crew, awaits their arrival. While Danilo Bach’s script outlines each character clearly - displaying a wide variety of personalities - the only likeable character in tow is Kit (Amy Steel, who you’ll likely recognize as the female lead in Friday the 13th Part 2), and even Kit, our obvious heroine, is a bit on the dull side.

The pranks begin on the boat, as prop knives fly and sticky syrup spills. While we’re supposed to get a laugh out of the situation early and often, the film just unveils countless clichés that feel tired from the beginning. However, if you hope to make it through this one in its entirety, expect plenty of lame, overused gags that wouldn’t keep a 10 year old child entertained.

Once this group of friends (there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of camaraderie between the bunch as a whole, which leaves me feeling strange even labeling them “friends”) arrive on the island Muffy (Deborah Foreman, whose hauntingly robotic performance seems to be the only element of the film that works) is ready and waiting to host the weekend from hell.

While the bodies pile up with startling frequency, not one single murder ever satisfies. We’re treated to plenty of cut-away shots, off-screen kills and cheap hack job effects that seem to be more afterthought than focal point, which I find strange for a film centered around the slaughtering of reckless youth. In fact, the best effects April Fool’s Day has to offer are seen in the form of prosthetics, and one early shot on the boat before this bunch of rogues ever get to the island. Perhaps the worst part of the entire ordeal is the finale. There’s anticlimactic, and then there’s lazy and anticlimactic, which is just plain offensive. April Fool’s Day falls under the latter category, and the “it was all a dream” type of climax will leave you angered at having sat through this compilation of rubbish.

Despite the fog of lackluster effort that looms over April Fool’s Day, there seemed to be potential on hand. Between Steel, Foreman, Ken Olandt and Thomas F. Wilson (you know, Biff from that little flick Back to The Future?) there’s enough acting talent to compile a quality picture. Unfortunately for just about everyone involved (including those of us who wasted 90 minutes of our lives watching this crap) a rudimentary script, limited budget and lack of heart keep the film from ever leaving the ground, let alone soaring.

OVERALL SUMMARY
This forgettable slasher features an impressive cast and some great scenery. Sadly, it lacks the spirit of many slashers to come before, and after, and misses the mark in terms of story, gore and fear. Steer clear of this clunker, unless you're attempting to pass it off as the best slasher ever made, as an obvious April Fool's Day prank.



Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @horrorasylum
Location:Scotland, UK
Review Date: 26 August 2003 My Rating: out of 5

This film from Director Fred Walton had really pulled the wool over my eyes when I had seen it years ago on TV, so I was anxious to check it out again and it was just as great as I had remembered.

Muffy St. John invites her friends to her holiday home on a remote island for Spring break. The friends set off intending to have the time of their lives, which is just as well because it may be the last time they get to party.

This film like 'Terror Train' was obviously made to cash in on the success of other horror films (it even has the same producer and studio as the 'Friday the th' series) but where this film differs from that rip-off is that whilst it was easy money, the team behind this put effort into making it a good movie.

The cast including Amy Steel from 'Friday the th Part ' are all very likeable, albeit rather stereotypical in the way they represent the 's. Hey it was the 's and no one cared about characters being stereotypes.

Director Fred Walton (of which I am a huge fan) once again manages to tell a great story whilst showcasing some creepy moments and wonderfully eerie set pieces (the highlight being a scene where one young girl decides to climb into a well to retrieve the bucket after the rope snaps).

The death scenes are mostly hinted at, as I suspect that scissor happy Paramount went about butchering the negatives so as not to offend any families. (Isn't that nice of them!!) The deaths are however more than compensated for in creepy P.O.V shots and little red herrings.

The film also manages to be hysterically funny thanks to the comedic talents of the cast, and never fails to entertain between the carnage.

It really annoys me that people cash in on successful movies with cheap imitations and yet a film such as this, which is of a high standard for the 's and shows origionality is dismissed as rubbish. We all know what to expect from a horror film released in the height of the slasher craze and that's why we want to see it!!

OVERALL SUMMARY
If you like good old fashioned dead teen slasher films, humour and a good story full of red herrings and great set pieces then this is the film for you!!



Reviewer: Josh Winning @horrorasylum
Location:UK
Review Date: 31 October 2001 My Rating: out of 5

REVIEW
This is a fun little movie that proved better than I expected, but falls a little short towards the end. All the cast give good performances (especially Amy Steel, who was also excellent in Friday the 13th, Part 2), but some of the roles are decidedly restricting, and seem to only serve as cardboard set-ups for grisly murders. Deborah Foreman was also rather good as Muffy (what kind of a name is that?!), and she gets pretty creepy after the initial party at her house. The males of the cast are rather nondescript and samey, with the possible exception of Griffin O'Neil, who brigntened things up a little.

The directing and music are rather impressive, and set up some neat scares. I was also surprised at how well the tension was built up considering this is an 80's horror movie - and most 80's horrors were obsessed only with creating a huge body count with a splash of nudity. The haunting melody that plays over the opening credits and a number of times through-out the movie is both sweet and unsettling, which is a nice effect.

The revelation is a bit of a disappointment, and gives the entire movie a sense of 'so what?', which is a shame for something that was - up until then - rather quality and substantial.

OVERALL SUMMARY
While, at times, April Fool's Day can be slightly unsettling, and there is a nice sense of fun about it, it falls sadly short in a number of areas. The cast is surprisingly adequate, and do well with what roles they have, but there is a distinct feel of 'so what' when the revelation comes along...




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