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.
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.