April Fool’s Day is one more of those slasher flicks I recall seeing the video box for at Blockbusters for twenty years but never bothered to watch until now. Just like Dr. Giggles and Happy Birthday to Me, I vividly recall this box cover, with the chick with the noose braided into her hair, but meh, I could just rent Creepshow for the zillionth time, so whatever. And I probably never would’ve watched it, either, if I hadn’t found it in a $5 bin at Wal-Mart in a double feature set with My Bloody Valentine. Having finally given it the eighty-eight minutes it deserves, all I can say is that my childhood belief of April Fool’s Day being about a woman who strangles people with her braided hair was grossly inaccurate.
Might’ve been better than the actual thing, though.
Well-to-do yuppie larvae, Muffy (Deborah Foreman), is throwing an April Fool’s Day party at her parents’ mansion located on a secluded island where really? Really? People actually do this sort of thing? Nobody going to this party thought that hey, maybe someone’s going to try and kill us one by one? Jesus, people in the ‘80s were stupid.
I apologize, but it’s difficult to maintain a professional level of tact and composure when I’ve spent the better part of twenty years of my life wondering what this movie was about and then a relative eighty-eight minutes wishing I’d never put forth the effort to find out. April Fool’s Day is quite possibly the dullest slasher flick I’ve ever subjected myself to, and Goddammit, I’ve seen Cheerleader Camp.
April Fool’s Day has the gall to parade itself about as a murder mystery, but the culprit is presented to you at the beginning of the flick without a single red herring to draw your suspicions. It’s full of yawn-inducing attempts at comedy from the standard set of ‘80s slasher flick archetypes for the first forty-something minutes, with only a brief accidental injury providing anything approaching “action”. The rest of the film is the sorriest excuse for a “slasher” I’ve ever seen, as character “deaths” are perpetrated off-screen and some characters, like the bookish nerd girl, just disappear from the film entirely with nary an explanation for their absence (“What happened to nerd-girl?” “I dunno, maybe she’s dead or something. Let’s split up and search for clues!”).
Of course, there’s a good reason for this, which you’ll find out at the film’s twist ending. I can’t say it was an inappropriate twist, but you’ll still see the thing coming a mile away. I mean, the damn thing is titled April Fool’s Day. How do YOU think it ends? And let’s be frank, if the twist ending to your slasher movie requires you to remove all gore and death sequences from the film… then I guess that’s like masturbating with a Freddy glove on. Sure, you’ll get an orgasm, but you’re a fucking idiot.
On the lighter side, we’ve got at least one pair of serviceable talent to guide us through the dreariness of this near-bloodless farce of an R rating. Amy Steel plays the lead female protagonist, which probably means nothing to you unless you’re a fan of Friday the 13th Part II. She plays pretty much an identical character, but aren’t all horror movie heroines alike, anyway? The best performance, comes from none other than Thomas F. Wilson. Yeah. That’s right. Biff. From Back to the Future. It’s kind of weird, actually; seeing him play a character that, um, isn’t Biff (his cameo on Spongebob Squarepants may be the only other non-Biff role of his I’ve seen). His performance isn’t fall-out-of-your-chair-amazing, but c’mon. It’s Biff. That alone provides a modicum of amusement for the first forty-five minutes of the film. Then he gets killed off and it’s all downhill from there.
I suppose if I got any intentional entertainment out of April Fool’s Day, it would have to be some of the pranks. Most of them were clever but harmless (like the bit with the lights in the bedroom), while some were actually a little creepy (the moving eyes behind the painting). But really, I didn’t blow five bucks to watch an hour of stupid practical jokes from the ‘80s that may or may not involve Biff. I put down the monetary equivalent of a Happy Meal to see some classic ‘80s slasher film kills and what have you.
Thanks for nothing, April Fool’s Day. If anybody at my local Wal-Mart spoke English, I’d return you. But nobody does, so I’m fucked.