One of the 80’s slasher films that got away, and released years after that bubble had burst, April Fool’s Day is a nifty little horror-comedy with a twist ending, despite the logic holes you could drive a bus through.
The plot is unoriginal: A group of rich college kids gather at the island home of Muffy St. John (the invaluable Deborah Foreman, of Valley Girl fame) and get picked off quickly by an unseen killer.
What makes April Fool’s Day work in spite of the genre is a solid cast (particularly Amy Steel, a talented actress who should have fared better in her career), sharp writing, some very funny dialogue, and the edges of a genuine mystery uncommon for slasher movies at the time. The ending of the film has been the subject of some debate: Does it cheat? Maybe, if you take the time to analyze things. But what’s the fun in that? April Fool’s Day is meant to be digested as a whole. It’s the kind of movie you sit back and laugh with, and allow yourself to be taken in by its surprises.
I don’t know, maybe I’m giving the movie too much credit. Maybe there’s some nostalgia involved, as I saw it in the theater upon its original release. Maybe it’s a piece of crap and I can’t get out of my own way to notice. Doesn’t matter: I have a soft spot in my heart for April Fool’s Day, and that’s what matters.
(Note: Do not mistake this for the god-awful 2008 version, a remake in name only.)
1986; starring Deborah Foreman, Amy Steel; directed by Fred Walton; 89 min; R; in English.