April Fool’s Day (2008)
US (dir.The Butcher Brothers)
Cast: Taylor Cole, Sabrina Aldridge, Michael Beasley, Josh Henderson, Scout Taylor-Compton, Samuel Child, R. Keith Harris
Synopsis: Last year’s April Fool’s Day party ended tragically. Will this year be any different? As popular and rich Desiree Cartier plans for the big day, she and five of her friends get to work planning a master prank. Little do they know, the six teens will become the next victims of an April Fool’s Day killer.
Review: In 9 out of 10 cases, a direct to DVD film tends to suck (i.e. “Laid to Rest”). “April Fool’s Day” (a VERY loose remake of the 1986 movie “April Fool’s Day”) is one of those few exceptions. The cast isn’t exactly fantastic, and when one of your main characters is Scout Taylor-Compton (god, is her name fucking annoying) chances are the acting will be sub-par at best. Yes, the acting kinda sucks, yeah the dialogue isn’t exactly Shakespeare, but the story is fairly solid and it built upon two clever and unexpected twists (one that you may see coming, and another that you will not). There isn’t enough slashing for this movie to be considered a slasher, but it does work well as a murder mystery which throws a whole bunch of red herrings at you every few minutes.
The story revolves around two spoiled brat siblings (Blair and Desiree) who host a debutante ball at their impressive mansion. On the invite list is Desiree’s mortal enemy, Milan (a picture perfect blonde with a heart of gold). We aren’t really told why there is a rivalry, but it may just be some sort of jealously or something. Either way, the rivalry is so intense that the siblings decide to “fool” Milan by drugging her with a date rape drug and instigating a half-assed “seduction” by using Blair as bait (in case you haven’t guessed it, it is April Fool’s Day). Apparently, April Fooling has gotten pretty intense! The foolery goes horribly awry when it turns out Milan suffers from a seizure after ingesting the drug, and she ends up running backwards (??) and tripping over a balcony about 10 feet away from where she actually had the seizure. Needless to say, the poor girl ends up splattering all over the desert table and dies. Oh and to top it all off, it was videotaped by the pranksters. About 6 people had a small part in this prank gone wrong: the brother and sister, the debutante, Milan’s ex-lover and his fiancee, a celebrity blogger (??), and some kid with his hands permanetly attached to a videocamera for like 90% of the movie (turns out he had a raging crush on Milan).
Anywho, 1 year later it’s April Fool’s Day again, and there is a killer on the loose picking off each of the pranksters involved in Milan’s death. During that one year, a lot has changed in the lives of those “responsible” for Milan’s death, in particular we discover that Blair (the one who seduced Milan) has lost his control of the family fortune and that Desiree has gained his control. It’s an interesting set-up and I like the way it turns out because you’re always guessing whodunnit, only to discover it’s someone you least expect. It’s not the greatest movie ever, and I’m severely disappointed it didn’t copy the original more (because the original sounds really fun!). However, the script is intriguing and unique and it had a really neat little twist near the end. Is it worth watching? Yeah, I think so. Could it have been improved just a bit more? Definitely. Although I think some people may have their reservations about seeing a movie called “April Fool’s Day” because it sounds like a horror comedy or a really cheesy, throwback to the 80s, slasher. I was really suprised to discover that it was directed by The Butcher Brothers, particularily since I kept hearing how their first movie was critically acclaimed and chosen as one of the 8 Films to Die For in 2006. I guess I’ll have to check that first movie out and see for myself if it’s worth the praise. Well, anyways… “April Fool’s Day” is decent, but I’m having trouble deciding on a rating for it… so here goes…