Why are there so many holiday themed horror movies? Halloween I can understand, but Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and now April Fool’s Day? Gracious. Does this mean some day I can look forward to President’s Day, where the reanimated corpses of former U.S. Presidents rise from their graves to fight an ancient evil?
Okay, so President’s Day would be kind of awesome; you know George Washington would run around punishing liars with that axe he used to chop down a cherry tree. Abraham Lincoln would emancipate some folks from breathing and Teddy Roosevelt could run around beating people to death with big sticks.
Non-spoilery: It’s April Fool’s Day and Spring Break. A group of friends are traveling to their mutual friend Muffy St. John’s (yes, that is her name in the movie) isolated rural mansion for a week of fun and frivolity. When they arrive, however, people start disappearing and dying in strange ways. Muffy acts bizarrely and there’s no boat coming to the island the St. John’s own to pick anyone up. What follows is a combination of a slasher flick and an older, Agatha Christie style murder mystery.
Spoilers behind the cut.
The premise behind April Fool’s Day is pretty simple: the entire movie is a prank. One big, long prank.
Muffy sets up an elaborate scheme to con two of her friends, Kit and Rob, into believing their friends are being murdered and that Muffy is not actually Muffy, but her twin sister, the criminally insane Buffy. The movie sets this up quite convincingly, with Kit and Rob finding all sorts of clues leading up to the “shocking realization” that Buffy’s really the one running around the island. Muffy reveals in the third act that she and all their other friends were in on the joke and that the house is part of her inheiritance. In order to keep up with taxes and expenses without her daddy’s help, she plans on turning it into a murder mystery bed and breakfast. She needed to see if two people could really get into the murder mystery aspect as well as to see if the clues she planted around the island and in the house would work.
Kit and Rob take this with good humor, which is the most unbelieveable part of the movie. If someone did this to me? You are getting a martini thrown in your face, choice profanity hurled at you and my ass would be swimming back to the mainland.
Yes, these are the assholes Kit and Rob call friends.
April Fool’s Day really isn’t meant to be more than a one-watch movie. This is primarily due to the fact that if you use more than three brain cells, the movie makes no sense. Each of the “deaths” of the friends is shot so that no one else is around. If they’re all in on the joke, what’s the point of having them “die”?
Initially the guests check in to their rooms and discover an item each relating to their pasts; bondage gear, drug paraphenalia, clippings related to car acciidents. One friend finds a tape of a baby crying in her room and freaks out, recalling her abortion. The characters aren’t so much as characters as typical horror movie clichés. It does make you wonder when these folks find out about the elaborate ruse being conducted, considering most of them are portrayed as being aware that things weren’t what they seemed before the weekend started. If you think long and hard about it, the plot leaves several ends open which is marginally unsatisfying.
That being said, April Fool’s Day is not a bad movie. Funny and slightly scary, it’s intended to honor the spirit of the (very ridiculous holiday). it’s like Punk’d only with less irritating Ashton Kutcher and less celebrities. The scary scenes have genuine tension and the murder mystery aspect of April Fool’s Day makes it different from the flood of slashers that came out in the ’80’s.
Not bad, not great; it’s a good Friday night couch click.