By the time I ever think of any great pranks to pull for April Fool’s Day, it’s usually April 2nd – not the most opportune time for tricking people. April Fool’s Day the movie has a lot of fun, but corny tricks up it’s sleeve, and one huge one that by the time it rolls around, you might already see it coming.
A group of college friends about to graduate with their degrees get together to celebrate one last time while they are still without responsibility and carefree. Muffy (Deborah Foreman) invites them all out to her parent’s mansion on a remote island for the April Fool’s day weekend so they can all hang out one last time before they set out for the real world. The weekend gets out to a rough start while on the ferry ride out to the island when one of the ferrymen falls off the boat and gets wedged between the dock and the boat and ends up severely injuring his head. Two of the guys, Arch (Thomas F. Wilson) and Skip (Griffin O’Neal) feel responsible, as their horseplay is what made the ferrymen jump out into the water in the first place.
When one by one the friends start disappearing, and their bodies start being discovered, the group of friends start fearing for their lives and blame the gruesome murders on the injured ferryman. When a call to the sheriff uncovers that the injured man is still in the hospital, and that the sheriff is at his bedside, the group don’t know who to watch out for and decide that sticking together is probably the best plan for them to survive. Any logical person would agree that there are strength in numbers when a crazed killer has been stalking and killing your friends one by one, but as the case with just about every horror movie, there isn’t much fun in playing it safe.
April Fool’s Day is a pretty predictable film where several different horror cliche’s get played out (having sex in a horror movie = being dead shortly thereafter, splitting up to search for someone in the woods = dead, etc.) but of course with this being a horror movie, the characters are oblivious to it. When one of the characters makes an obvious change in both appearance and personality, none of the others recognize it and that proves to be their downfall.
Thankfully while so many cliches are played out, April Fool’s Day has a quick moving story. It doesn’t take long for someone to get knifed in the gut to start the whole chain of events rolling. One of my few complaints is that most of the actual killings take place off screen so you never really get the satisfaction of getting to watch someone getting got by the killer, you just get to observe the bloody aftermath that is left behind in the wake.
Even though most of the story devices are insanely predictable, and the “surprise” twist at the end is pretty much given away by the title of the film, it’s still a fun horror/thriller that never takes itself too seriously. Regardless of how deliberate and obvious everything is, there are still some very genuinely tense moments that will either make you jump or have you on the edge of your seat waiting to see if what you think is going to happen is really going to happen or not. While not being the deepest of horror movies, April Fool’s Day still provides some scares and deserves 3.5 severed heads floating in a well out of 5.