Film Review: April Fool’s Day (1986)
I’d been waiting years to see this film. For one reason or another, I’d just never gotten around to watching it.
After doing so, I wish that I never had.
A group of college friends goes to the private island of a friend, “Muffy St. James” (Deborah Foreman), for a fun and relaxing weekend. With April Fool’s Day approaching, Muffy outfits the house with a variety of harmless pranks at the expense of her guests. Before long, however, the friends are picked off one by one by a vicious killer.
When the guests are finally pared down, via off-screen kills, to “Kit” and “Rob” (Amy Steel and Ken Olandt) it is revealed that Muffy has an evil twin sister, “Buffy,” who is on the loose. Muffy’s decapitated head is found in the basement.
As the couple is chased by Buffy, they become separated. Kit makes her way into the dining room, only to find all her friends waiting for her…alive. It turns out that the entire weekend was an elaborate practical joke. Muffy was planning to turn the house into a resort where guests could go to take part in a horror experience, much like murder mystery dinner theater.
The film concludes with yet ANOTHER swerve-killing as a drunken Muffy returns to her bedroom to find a package. She opens it to find a jack-in-the-box, which had been referenced earlier in the film. As she cranks the handle of the toy, the jack springs, as does weekend guest “Nan” (Leah Pinsent) who is wielding a knife. She slits Muffy’s throat with it. Blood pours from her throat.
It is then revealed to be a fake knife and fake blood.
Muffy got her payback.
Soooooooooooooooooo…this is a slasher film with exactly ZERO DEATHS?
I recently watched the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane and raved about how brave and inventive the script was. It, like April Fool’s Day, employs an unexpected finish. So many times I’ve watched genre films and said to myself, “I wish the director would do ‘X’ to mix things up.” Both 10 Cloverfield Lane and April Fool’s Day do this to varying degrees of effect.
10CL is a great picture with a rock solid script and tremendous performances. The out-of-left-field conclusion only serves to increase the viewers intrigue and enjoyment.
April Fool’s Day is not as well-crafted a picture. The acting and script are, at best, so-so. Therefore, when the big reveal is that everything was an elaborate joke and no one died, the film crashes.
Am I glad that I finally watched it? Yes.
Will I watch it again? No.
-Zep the Bear