Thirteen Things about April Fool's Day
(As you can see, Horror movies I review in October get some special love!)
13. After each production of Agatha Christie's play The Mousetrap, the cast step out to ask the audience for a special favour: to keep the secret of the ending so that everyone else who watches the play for the first time can be as surprised as they. I feel as if the cast of April Fool's Day have made the same request of me. Which means that my challenge is to blog about this movie without giving anything but the heaviest veiled clues away. Well, challenge accepted! =D
And yes, this is your first heavily veiled clue. LOL!
12. April Fool's Day opens with all the expected 80s Slasher elements: an isolated location, a pretty teenage cast, the smell of hormones in the morning, and the best hair and fashion the "Me Decade" had to offer.
Perhaps the only "postmodern" element is the video camera one character uses to record his memories and annoy everyone else at the same time. In the present decade, it would have served as satiric commentary on Horror as entertainment--and it is really because of the present decade that I gave it more than a moment's notice. Which I'm now glad I did, because it actually has something to say about its own film. Something almost Shakespearean.
But of course I can't tell you any more than that. =P
11. Now about that pretty teenage cast and their 80s styling . . .
They actually look really scary here, don't they? LOL!
I don't think all nine teenagers are ever in the same frame at once (The logistics of it would have been too obvious, perhaps?), so I'm glad they had this photo taken. =)
My favourite cast member has got to be Tom Wilson. This is actually the first time I've seen him in a role that is not Biff Tannen. =P Anyone else love Mary O'Toole O'Reilly O'Shea? LOL!
10. Adding the above photo reminded me that the dinner scene gives off a Last Supper vibe, so I was very pleased to go over the story again and realise that there are exactly thirteen characters in the whole film! How cool is that??? =D
9. You know what I like about these older Slasher movies that doesn't necessarily have something to do with the 80s? They're also more old-fashioned . . . in the romantic sense. =P I felt courted by this film, which took its time setting the mood and making sure I was comfortable before it even tried to get to first base.
Quite the contrast to today's caddish Horror movies, which seem to think that all they have to do is bring some beer and show up. (And then they never call you . . . Sheesh!)
8. But a gentle wooing may not be for everyone. I watched this with my teenage brother Camera Man, and he spent the first half hour texting his friends. (Sigh!) But as soon as the bodies started dropping, April Fool's Day had him just where it wanted him. (Snigger!)
Let me put it this way: the next time he makes fun of me for wanting to hold his hand during the scary scenes, I will remind him of how fast he ran after me when I left the living room for a few seconds to top up my drink! ;-)
7. The isolated location is rich girl Muffy St. John's roomy island mansion. (Yes, that's her name. LOL!) And it has the soul of a British manor, longing to be the setting of a good, old-fashioned Whodunit--a wish that is especially evident when the guests start finding some really odd things in their rooms . . . !
6. That brings me to one real nit I have to pick with April Fool's Day, which is that a couple of those odd things don't make any sense. For instance, one character opens his medicine cabinet and finds heroin paraphernalia. But why? Nothing leading up to that point has made him seem like a drug user, and the equipment itself is never mentioned again.
Having done a bit more research, I now know that the original idea for his character was an athlete who ruined a future in sports after his steroid use became public, and that he was supposed to find steroids and not drugs in the cabinet. But then this storyline was cut out of the script and then they had to give him something else to find. Not the smoothest switch.
5. Then again, this Slasher isn't about punishing teenagers for their sins. That "smell of hormones in the morning" is quite the red herring! April Fool's Day is actually optimistic about one of its fornicating couples. =P
4. Now I really want to ask a question which begins with the words, "Would you forgive . . . ?"--but to add more to it would count as a spoiler. Those who have seen April Fool's Day, however, already know what I mean, and I plead with them to tell me!
I steered as clear of spoilers as I could in this post, but I'm willing to discuss anything and everything in the combox. Spoiler-averse readers may scroll down at their own risk!
3. While I'm at it, another question for April Fool's Day fans: "Was anyone else creeped out by the climax?" I don't want to give away too much, but in the few seconds it took for the surprise to set in, I ran through several theories in my mind, each one as freaky as the rest. (My favourite? . . . Ghosts! LOL!)
2. But the ending--or rather, the encore--leaves much more to be desired. Apparently, it was not supposed to be the real ending and was filmed months after production officially wrapped. I was not surprised to learn that. The final scene looks as if it were filmed for a completely different movie. And yet there was no way not to have it.
Generally speaking, Horror movies need that one last "twist" at the end. It's not so much that the genre has taught us to expect it, but that we are hardwired to be suspicious of threats that are thwarted too easily. And in April Fool's Day, there's something a little too macabre about the way the survivors express their relief (if you will): it foreshadows--heck, it fore-demands--what happens last. I just wish they had put a little more thought and care into it, you know?
1. I wrote and formatted an entire post, and you know what? My bum still hurts from the kicking I gave myself for waiting so long to see this movie. Late have I loved you, April Fool's Day; late have I been . . .
Image Sources: a) April Fool's Day poster, b) April Fool's Day cast