Movie Reviews 201 – April Fool’s Day (1986)

April Fools DayThe poster sporting a girl whose hair is braided into the shape of a hangman’s noose and hiding a knife behind her back as she raises a cheer to a group a teens has always peaked my interest. But at the same time I assumed April Fools’ Day was just another movie trying to cash in on the Horror-holiday-du-jour trend like Halloween, My Bloody Valentine, Black Christmas or even Mother’s Day. (Is nothing sacred?)

My fears seemed confirmed when the premise turned out to be a bunch of friends holed up in an island isolated mansion over the first of April weekend and the hijinks included every staple trick gimmick in the book from dribble glasses, exploding cigars and breakaway doorknobs. As silly as those scenes were there was a developing mystery surrounding bodies disappearing and resurfacing in various states of decomposition and other gory deaths.  It was still enjoyable until the point early in the movie where I groaned as I thought I had it all figured out. Too obvious, I said to myself. The clues were all laid out alright, and I bought them, hook, line and sinker. Little did I know that a surprise was in store for me, and a lesson in humility. Yeah, the filmmakers got me good.

The story twist is what raises April Fool’s Day above the abject silliness it resides in. It’s hard to explain without giving it all away so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that the twist transforms the nonsense into a finely crafted story interwoven like that artwork hair braid.

I can even see myself watching this again in the near future, so call it a minor classic. Being a blog, I realize that someone may be reading this on April Fool’s Day and they may surmise that I’m just pulling their leg and the movie really is the crap I originally said it was. But I wouldn’t do that, would I?

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