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April Fool's Day has just the right smarts about it that it holds up
extremely well, even all these years later. While the cast may be youthful,
the characters and story set this film way above "teen" slasher or horror
flicks. Mainly, because this is really a mystery in the vein of Ten Little
It's a good thing I saw this film in a theatre when it was first released in 1986 -- because the VHS cover has something on it that would have kept me AWAY if I had not seen the film already: "It's just what you'd expect from the producer who brought you Friday the 13th -- Parts Two, Three, Four, and Five." You just can't put April Fool's Day in the same category as those films! This is far superior in story and intelligence. It's clever, well-written, and has great characters that you like even if they are not so nice! These days it seems it's more important to find the most popular actors, and that is usually distracting and doesn't guarantee a good film. April Fool's Day had lesser known stars for that time (Deborah Foreman, Amy Steel, Clayton Rohner, Griffin O'Neal) and that worked as an advantage.
The basic premise of a group of college students stuck on an island in a big house and one by one they disappear, yes, it's been done in many variations before. But the clever execution of the story, red herrings, and the underrated Deborah Foreman's delightful portrayal of Muffy/Buffy all make for a really fun viewing experience. Foreman has just the right amount of sweetness and can go right into being just plain quirky with such ease. The touch of having dolls on the dinner table, sort of like name tags, will bring a giggle and a smile for sure!
One plus for this film is the fact that it didn't sink into the tiring T & A route. Sure, a few of the characters have sex on the brain but their actions and dialogue never really wander off into the gratuitous area. Guys, if you really want lots of breasts than just go ahead and get some porn or a Playboy video, okay? Let the rest of us enjoy a good story once in a while!
After the body count rises and things escalate into a tense and frenzied chase through the house, you'll be surprised at what happens next. April Fool's Day is one of the few films of this kind that actually had a very surprising reveal and I was even caught off guard, left with my jaw agape at what the whole deal was about. The BIG surprise just happens so...abruptly, that you feel just like the character that runs into the room -- just stuck for a second! After about 90 minutes of mystery, the payoff BETTER be good, and sure enough, this one doesn't disappoint! I'm especially thrilled to have picked up the eerie soundtrack by Charles Bernstein on vinyl when it first came out, and to this day love to give it a spin on the turntable.
Paramount has a vast library of films that just NEED to be given great treatment on DVD, and I'm crossing my fingers that films like April Fool's Day, Let's Scare Jessica To Death, and Polanski's film The Tenant will be given their glory. >
APRIL FOOL'S DAY has just recently gotten a sort of cult status among horror
film fans. Casual horror viewers or those who are diehard gore hounds
haven't been kind to this film, but it is quite possibly the most
intelligent, best-acted, and coolest of all the 80s slasher
A group of college friends venture to the island home of one of their classmates for the weekend and wind up being killed by an unknown assailant, believed to be the victim of a cruel practical joke played by one of the students. Amy Steel (my fave from FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2) is Kit, the "last girl", and Ken Olandt is her boyfriend Rob. They are both very good and are believable, likable characters that the audience can root for. Other notable performances include Griffin O'Neal (son of Ryan), Thomas F. Wilson (Biff from BACK TO THE FUTURE), Deborah Foreman, who is very good in dual roles, Leah Pinsent (the classic good girl), Deborah Goodrich (too cool as the slut), and Clayton Rohner (the typical horny guy). I can't think of a bad thing to say about this movie except that some viewers will feel cheated by the two surprise endings, like I did at first. But appreciate the fact that they are totally unexpected and work better than any other ending thought up for the film.
APRIL FOOL'S DAY is strongly recommended to serious horror film fans and even casual viewers. Not very gory, but that's a plus in this case. Notice the similarities to Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians", of which this is sort of a modern updating. A whole lots of fun and the best damn slasher film of the 80s.
One of the more fondly remembered horror entries of the '80's is this
unique gem that's much more clever and amusing than the average slasher
Young woman invites her beloved college friends to her island home for a weekend of fun, but everything goes wrong. A freak accident occurs, mysterious things appear in the guests rooms, our hostess starts acting strangely, and bodies are starting to pile up!
With its clever combination of Agatha Christie-type mystery, teen horror film conventions, and quirky humor - it's not hard to understand why this film has developed a bit of a fan base. Even viewers who don't like horror films may find themselves enjoying this witty and twisted little venture. Director Walton does well in giving the film an air of mystery and spookiness. All the more adding to the atmosphere is the lovely music score of Charles Bernstein. The film is nicely shot in beautiful British Columbia.
The true highlight of this film though is its above-average cast. While there are really no known actors in the cast, they all deliver great performances and bring their characters to a wonderfully likable light! Deborah Foreman, in probably her best performance, is great as hostess Muffy. Ken Olandt and Amy Steel are great as a couple trying to solve the mystery of it all. Clayton Rohner and Thomas F. Wilson are a joy as two joke-happy friends. Jay Baker, Leah Pinsent, and Deborah Goodrich are equally good in their supporting roles.
As the tagliner says, April Fool's Day is certainly a 'cut' above the rest of its kind. It's a fun watch whether you enjoy the horror genre or not.
*** 1/2 out of ****
Definitely not the typical slasher fare you might expect from the 1980s, April Fool's Day takes the ordinary slasher formula and spices it up - and in the process makes a much more palatable film than most of the films it initially imitates. A group of nubile teens(OK, not so different to begin with)go to their friend's remote island home somewhere in the Northwest. Here, they laugh, have sex, joke around because it is April Fool's Day, and, oh by the way did I mention, have sex. Although this part of the movie is pretty typical, it is well-shot compared to other films of its ilk and we do get some character development(not a lot) but some. Soon, people begin to die and things get serious. For a slasher film, this movie is very well-paced and, more importantly, is not over-the-top in blood and guts. The acting is uniformly average(something a Friday the 13th films craves!). What really takes this film beyond the mundane; however, is the stylish twist at the film's end. This, almost all by itself, allows this film to rise in the ranks. The ending is deftly done and does not look foolish or silly or forced; all of these things could have easily happened. So if you are up for some slasher fun, want to see some nice looking girls(Deborah Foreman and Deborah Goodrich), and are intrigued by a creative ending - April Fool's Day is for you!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
April Fool's Day is really something special to me as a horror fan. In
fact, most people I know have never even seen it or heard of it. But I
have. And I love it.
The casting is superb, delightful, and entertaining. The plot is mysterious, the acting is average, and jokes, accusations, and decapitations (real or not?) galore in this one-hour and twenty minute uninspired horror movie. There is even a scene in the end that unravels everything that you believed the movie to be in the first place. Amy Steel (from Friday The 13th 2) stars in this homage to crafty horror films, alongside the charming, sexy Deborah Foreman (Waxwork). It is really good to see at any time, and nothing about it should disappoint you. It is not your average horror movie. It's really more funnier than scary.
April Fool's Day provided horror fans something a little more tasteful than was expected back in mid-80's. It's nice to have a mystery every now and then, and this movie will have you wondering what's up the sleeves of each character. True, it's not The Green Mile or The Shawshank Redemption, but it is truly underrated as a horror film.
It's great. Nine stars.
Here we have your usual assembly of would be slasher victims along with the spooky old house near the shore bit. But the noticable difference here is the amount of laughs injected into this that you dont see in 80s horror. And an ending never seen in any other typical slasher film. The cast is perfect; a wise cracking bunch constantly pulling gags on each other. Wilson (far from his "Biff" character he played in Back to the Future) is great, Foreman is spooky as the weirdo hostess, Baker as the stuck on himself southern guy, and Goodrich as the outspoken cutie, to name a few. Most have wavered about the ending; some say good, some say stupid, so just be prepared for something different.
One of my favourite movies of all time. Saw it again last night for the umpteenth time last night (but on DVD for the first time)and it's still wonderful. Funny, scary and seriously smart - the "twist" is great and works well even on multiple viewings - there's no cheating here, it works well even when you know it and can see it coming. I love it to bits, and it's tremendous fun. Criminally underrated. The cast is terrific, especially Deborah Foreman, and it's the first thing other than the Back to the Future movies that I've seen Thomas F Wilson in! And he's funny and likable in it too. Gorehounds needn't bother, but if you like a good story and a good mystery you'll have a ball. It's quite possibly the only slasher movie that will appeal to people who hate slasher movies! I adore it.
When a formula is worn out people tend to lose interest. If you use it
without something new to say then why bother right? You could apply
this to slasher films, many of which are cliché and predictable. There
are some exceptions. If a film that's like so many others has talented
people involved in front of and behind the camera then it might rise
above that. Fortunately there are some filmmakers out there who don't
want to lose their audience and try to keep things fresh and exciting
with each project. After you've seen so many slasher films what else
can they really do with the concept? By 1986 the number of these films
made was overwhelming, but of course there were diamonds in the rough.
Paramount, the home of the hit 'Friday the 13th' series is also
responsible for a forgotten (Not by horror fans) film that would
surprise those tired of the same old, same old.
Pros: Performances are good all around. A good fresh spin on the slasher genre. Plus the writing is quite good. A great sense of humor. A nice job done on the score, which is eerie. Beautiful shooting location and photography. Some good creepy sequences. Fast paced. Director Fred Walton and writer Danilo Bach do a fine job of keeping this from getting too predictable. Some nice surprises I wouldn't dream of giving away.
Cons: Some of the characters are not too likable and can be irritating. Most of the kills are off screen.
Final thoughts: Truly a breath of fresh air for the slasher sub-genre. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of 1980s slasher films I enjoy, good and bad, but so many lack anything new that hasn't already been seen in countless other films. A must see for genre buffs. I must warn you though, the 2008 remake is not at all worth seeing and will be no more than a waste of your time.
My rating: 4.5/5
This is one of those "almost" movies. April Fool's Day has a very likable
cast, a good plot and wonderful setting what is doesn't have is a lot of
suspense and scares.
It looks like a lot of time was put into this film to make it a classy horror picture. Perhaps that's the reason that none of the kills are very interesting, while there is some gore the death scenes themselves seem to have been edited out. Perhaps this was due to the print used on the DVD, maybe there's a better version...I don't know.
The ending itself may put off hardcore horror fans but I found it quite amusing and it helped to make the rest of the movie gel together and answers some questions/concerns I had about about the movies story.
Overall April Fool's Day is quite enjoyable. The young cast is a lot of fun to watch and a few notches above other 80's horror fare, the story is original and the local, a secluded beach house is quite nice. However, it could have been much, much creepier! With more suspense and good scares April Fool's Day could have rated higher. April Fool's Day rates a 6 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
- The basic plot of April Fool's Day is similar to many of the teen
horror/slasher movies of the 1980s. For the most part, the story of the
first three quarters of the movie isn't really anything special. A
group of eight friends travel to the island estate of Muffy St. John
(Deborah Foreman) to spend the weekend. Soon, the inevitable happens -
people start disappearing and bodies start piling up. Of course,
there's no way off the island, the phone isn't working, and Muffy is
acting very weird. But, just when you think you've got things figured
out, the big ending comes out of nowhere.
- About the ending (and I'm not going to give it away) - from what I've read, it seems to be a love it or hate it proposition. There's not much middle ground. You will either feel cheated and want to throw your remote at the television or you will love it and appreciate it as something different. Put me in the love it category. I think it is a nice change of pace from the normal horror movie from the period. There are a few (very few) clues as to what's coming up, but it takes a repeat viewing to pick them up.
- Most of the 80s teen horror movies have interchangeable characters - there is a nerd, a jock, a slut, a good girl, etc. And even though the characters in April Fool's Day can be put in these categories, they are not as exaggerated as you find in most similar movies. The writers should be given credit for at least attempting to write somewhat "real" characters. By no means do we get in depth characterizations, but these characters are more like people I actually knew in the 80s.
- As usual, I do have a couple problems with the movie. The biggest complaint I have is the idea that the whole scheme could be pulled off without anyone knowing or discovering what was going on. That notion requires an extra large leap in any sort of known logic. And, I have a problem making a jump that large.
- By the way, what ever happened to Deborah Foreman? After the 80s, she seems to have dropped off the planet.
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