April Fool’s Day (1986)

April Fool’s Day starts as nine college friends all set out to spend the weekend on an isolated island belonging to Muffy (Deborah Foreman) whom they all know from school. The only way to the island is by ferry, while sailing there an accident happens & a lad named Buck (Mike Nomad) is badly injured which puts a downer on the weekend. Once there they decide to make the best out of the situation & the traditional April fool’s day practical jokes occur from collapsible chairs, door knobs that come off in your hand & whoopee cushions, each & every one a classic. Then one-by-one the teens start to go missing & even worse their dead bodies begin to turn up, a killer is on the loose…

Directed by Fred Walton one has to say that I really didn’t like April Fool’s Day that much & I’m usually very forgiving when it comes to mindless 80’s teen slashers, one of teen slashers to use the gimmick of a holiday calender event along with the likes of Black Christmas (1974), Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), Mother’s Day (1980), Prom Night (1980), My Bloody Valentine (1981) & Happy Birthday to Me (1981) & is in my opinion one of the least impressive examples. The script by Danilo Bach takes itself very seriously, has bland cardboard cutout teen character’s whose names I can barely remember & an inexcusable lack of blood or gore. To be honest April Fool’s Day as a film lives or dies by it’s absurd twist endings, personally I think it’s one of those ‘love it or hate it’ type things & speaking from a personal point of view I’m definitely leaning towards the later. The twist is so contrived, silly & full of holes that I found it impossible to keep a straight face. Then after the main twist comes another groan inducing twist which is standard horror fare & totally unnecessary rounds things off. The way I’ll sum April Fool’s Day up is in four parts, for the first half of the first half it’s just annoying teens travelling to the island, then for the second half of the first half they play lots of practical April fool’s day jokes on each other while the first half of the second half is nothing more than traditional teen 80’s teen slasher fare (only worse) & the second half of the second half is made up of two cheesy twists which for me didn’t work at all.

Director Walton films with a certain competency & gloss in 2:35:1 widescreen but it’s rather bland & forgettable, I’d struggle to say there’s any style here at any rate. The lack of blood, gore or violence is most unappealing & basically sinks the film without trace as far as I’m concerned. There are a couple of decapitated heads & some blood splashes otherwise absolutely nothing. All the ‘murders’ are very much off screen & since it turns out that not one person does actually die in April Fool’s Day it probably has the unwelcome distinction of being the only teen slasher ever made without a single death in it. There’s no nudity either.

I was amazed to see that the IMDb says this had a budget of $5,000,000 because virtually nothing happens, there’s no big name actor’s, there’s no special effects & while it looks nice & glossy is that enough to show for five big ones? Shot on location in British Columbia in Canada. The acting is so-so, it’s alright by 80’s slasher standards but no-one is going to win any awards.

April Fool’s Day is average at best & even then only if you buy the ridiculous twist endings, it’s well made & it’s down to opinion but it didn’t really do anything for me. I like 80’s slashers so I didn’t regret watching April Fool’s Day & slasher fans will probably like it to some extent but overall I’ve seen much better examples. Another slasher film was made the same year under the title April Fool’s Day but was released as Slaughter High (1986) while in keeping with recent Hollywood trends they have given someone three times the budget of the original to remake it as April Fool’s Day (2008), I wonder if they will change that twist ending…