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Charles E. Sellier Jr.
A group of eight college friends gather together at an island mansion belonging to heiress Muffy St. John to celebrate their final year of school. They soon discover that each has a hidden secret from their past which is revealed, and soon after, they turn up dead. Yet, are they really dead? Or is it just part of some very real and cruel April Fool's jokes? The hostess, Muffy, is the only one who apparently knows what's going on. But then again, is it really her doing the killing?Written by
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My name is Mary O'Reilly O'Toole O'Shea. Somewhere out there is the island my friend Muffy owns. It's spring break and she's invited us over there for the weekend and we're waiting for the ferry now to take us there, and... I don't know what else to say.
Why don't you tell us something about yourself?
Oh, all right, something about myself. Um, I wanna work with handicapped children, and my parents are my best friends. Oh, and I start convent school next semester... and I ...
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Too much slasher, not enough comedy. But still, good try.
I have every reason to hate this movie. I've hated horror films for less. From the title, one could safely deduct that the movie takes place on April Fool's Day and that the characters will be playing pranks on each other for the first thirty-minutes of the movie, and that real mayhem will start up and inevitably be mistaken for just another prank. Why not? It's not uncommon for a prankster to pop up in these films, and we're faced with that same moment of revelation where the other characters discover, "Oh no! It's not a joke! It's real!"
It's to the point where you see the "prankster" pop up, and not only do we know that he dies, we also know how he dies. This predictability has made me hate the pranksters, especially the ones who pretend to be horribly mangled only to get up and say, "Ha! Gotcha!"
I'm almost to the point where I can guess which minute during the running time his dark fate will fall.
Enter April Fool's Day, an entire movie about one of my greatest horror-movie pet peeves. Worse yet - it also features an over-elaborate BS setup to get a group of teens to a remote location, isolated from anyone who could come to their aid. Hmm, sounds like another horror staple. The writers weren't working very hard, were they? And my personal favorite, "There's a killer on the island. We need to stick together!" and everyone agrees, "Yes, let's stick together in this very room! No one wanders off alone! Got that? We'll all stayoh look, a dark creepy corridor! I wanna explore it all by myself!"
It's amazing I did not hate this movie. Simply amazing.
One key is the fact that April Fool's Day knows its source material, and, needless to say, follows said formula step-by-step. The other key is the fact April Fool's Day knows what it is and never takes itself too seriously (I mean, it has a character named "Muffy" for crying out loud). The third and final key is the fact that the humor in April Fool's Day is not so condescendingly retarded that it hurts the reputation of the entire slasher sub-genre a la F13 pt 6: Jason Lives.
Now, while the tongue in cheek nature certainly saves it from an outright bashing, it doesn't earn it much praise either. Granted, I did get a kick out of Muffy's over-the-top-intentionally-suspicious character, the Scooby-Doo nature of the ending, and I do have to admit one of my all time favorite lines in a horror movie history is in this one (around the end climax) you'll know it when you hear it. Only a horror parody could get away with such an incredibly lame line. Those positive remarks aside, April Fool's Day doesn't really have anything else going for it.
The rest of the characters belong to the uninspired slasher film stereotypes. Not much gore to speak of, and were there any on screen kills? The acting didn't truly stand out enough to really comment on, same goes for the cinematography, the music, and editing. They get the job done. I've seen better, and I've seen worse. I think this ultimately hurt my overall opinion of the movie while everything is (at least) on par with the average slasher, it could have done more. As I wrote in an earlier paragraph, April Fool's Day knows its source material, but I think it resonates a little too closely with said material for my tastes. I would like to have seen April Fool's Day take just one more step away from its source material for the sake of its comedic elements, because as it stands (with all the ammunition a black comedy would have against a slasher) it comes across as a number of missed opportunities.
Still, I'll rank April Fool's Day above the typical slasher simply because it is intelligent enough a movie to recognize the ludicrousy its throwing at the audience. Like I said earlier, April Fool's Day knows what it's doing even if it isn't doing a phenomenal job at it.
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