There were several times that I saw the cover for April Fool’s Day (1986) when I started watching horror films and would admire the cover as I walked down the horror aisle of the video store. I would tell myself to rent the film. After all, it was a slasher film from the eighties so I was bound to like the feature! Little did I know, despite how deliciously awful the acting in the feature was then, I would end up loving the film. In fact, I found myself completely immersed with the feature and ever since then I have wanted to own said movie. In fact when seeing the title April Fool’s Day in a five dollar bin at Walmart once upon a time, I became sad to learn there is a 2008 remake by the same name.
However, if any of you have seen the film Cry_Wolf (2005), you will know that this film is supposedly a slight remake of April Fool’s Day as well. In many ways the two films mirror each other, but not exactly. This is probably why most people do not consider it a pure remake but more of a re-imaging of the feature much like Disturbia (2007) is to Rear Window (1954).
The synopsis of the features surrounds a group of college friends Harvey (Jay Baker), Nikki (Deborah Goodrich), Rob (Ken Olandt), Skip (Griffin O’Neal), Nan (Leah Pinsent), Kit (Amy Steel) and Arch (Thomas F. Wilson) who decide to spend their last Spring Break at their friend’s island mansion Muffy St. John (Deborah Foreman). Upon discovering that all the friends have a secret from their past in need of revealing, most of them turn up dead. Speculation begins to float throughout the grapevine about if they are actually dead or if someone is playing one of the cruelest April Fool’s jokes of all time. As the film progresses, audiences, along with Muffy’s friends, begin to ponder if Muffy is the one committing this vicious murder spree. After all, she appears know each and every detail about what is taking place among them. She is also the one who knows the island the best.
The acting in the film is rather ingenious the way it’s handled and lends itself to the last twist of the film ultimately. I cannot say that there are Oscar-worthy performances inside, as this is one of the cheesier films I have in my guilty pleasure collection, but the cheesiness lends itself to its title. After all, cute little jokes have to take place on April Fool’s Day. Everything turns kind of hooky after a while, but the gruesomeness and the creativity behind each kill within the feature make this a horror film worth watching.
In addition, Foreman is superb in her role as Muffy. She does a terrific job of creating his borderline character that cause audiences to debate the entire film. Is she a murderer? Or is she a victim? And along the way we learn a lot about the slasher genre. April Fool’s Day teaches audiences about eighties horror in ways that Scream taught its audience about nineties horror. While April Fool’s Day did not reinvent the genre as a whole, the way the film examines the genre and leads us down various paths has always left me feeling that this is one of the most underrated horror films of the eighties.
Overall, April Fool’s Day is one of those films that every horror fan owes themselves to watch. Not only will it make you understand eighties horror films far better than before, but it will also make you look at everything around you a little closer than before.