April Fool's Day (2008)

Author: Josh G.
Submitted by: Josh G.   Date : 2008-11-23 12:06

Directed by: Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores
Written by: Michael Wigart (teleplay) and Danilo Bach (story)
Starring: Taylor Cole, Josh Henderson and Scout Taylor-Compton

Reviewed by: Josh G.

By 2008, remakes have become a given. They are accepted to be present, whether people like them or not. When 1986's April Foolís Day was to be on the chopping block for a new age of horror, there appeared to be less anger, and more wonder. ďHow would they retell the story? What will be changed? What will be the same? Is it watchable?Ē I myself pondered on how the twist ending might be played out, and more importantly, how this one-by-one update would use the atmospheric island to its advantage. Sadly, when this redux came straight to DVD, no island remained. In fact, very few similarities from the superior semi-classic slasher stuck around for AFD 2008. A shame, since what we got didnít fit into the mold of a good film, remake or not.

Desiree and Blaine Cartier (Cole and Henderson), two rich teenagers living at their parentsí estate, throw a party on April 1st 2007 for Torrance Caldwellís (Scout Taylor-Compton) debut. In all actuality, the party is just a coverup for a prank aimed at Milan Hastings (Sabrina Aldridge), a good girl who does not get along with Desiree one bit. When the prank goes wrong, a drugged Milan has a seizure and falls off of a balcony, dying instantly. One year later in 2008, somebody is after the seven people who were involved in the prank. In true I Know What You Did Last Summer fashion, a letter is sent to each member, stating that ĎI have proof,í and that everyone will die unless the person who really killed Milan fesses up. First, gossip king Charles (Joseph McKelheer) is found dead in his pool, and then itís a game of numbers as any of the remaining six could be the latest targets for the killer. Whose doing this, and how are they so damn crafty?

This is one of the poorest thought out slasher remakes that I have ever laid eyes upon. Itís nice to see some familiar faces such as stars of the Desperate Housewives series and the Halloween remake, albeit, faces that are completely chiselled and beautiful. Iíll forgive this film for polishing its teen stars, considering every one of them is a spoiled rich brat, who no doubt underwent plastic surgery at some point. But I canít forgive the sloppiness of April Foolís Day. It ranges in anything from the calendar at the police office in 2008 stating that itís April 1st, 2007 (!), to a man who canít swim drowning in his Ďpersonal poolí (?), to situations plummeting this tragedy into comedic cheese-Heaven...or Hell. Nobody, not even Milan, is likeable. Torrance is the exception. Though, she certainly could just be better by comparison. Acting accounts for nothing if everybody is backstabbing and ruthless in their journey to benefit themselves. Lead Desiree starts off as a bitch, gains some charisma throughout, and quickly fades away as a heroin. Poor. Poor. Blech!

Funny. It was either rent this, or the Prom Night remake of the same year. Despite all of the horrid reviews for that tamed beast, I wish that I had visited that class dance instead. Blood is light, just like the original April Foolís Day, for obvious reasons. Depending on what factors you look at, itís a toss up over which one is goopier. Thereís no contest over which one is better though. To compare the original to this is roughing up the movie beyond recognition. Teens instead of adults, a fancy mansion versus the creepy lonesome island, and disposable garbage under one hell of a memorable time. One thing, aside from the twist ending, which was left in the remake, was the use of home video messages to the host of the party. Ryan (Joe Egender) films the party guests at the mansion, who are either drunk, assholes, or both. Not impressive. Did I mention the opening party where Milan dies is all in the first twenty minutes, stretched out way too long for characterization on people who just donít matter.

Torrance is working on a horror film when Blaine and Desiree show up for help. The one scene of her shooting that we see her in actually has more gore than the rest of the movie combined. Funny, but it all makes sense. I just donít see why the ending of the original was kept, when all else was thrown out. After all, didnít the twist in the first one make a lot of viewers furious? It boggles my mind. We have one of the funniest death scenes/chases of 2008 in here, where ambitious young politician Peter Welling (Samuel Child) is attacked by a truck, screaming to unfrightening scores. The killerís methods are fresh but boring. A drowning, a throat slit, electrocution, and little more canít keep the slasher fan happy, and the mystery is pretty easy to figure out, even if you have no clue about the originalís twist ending to begin with. A cringe worthy Ďtotally fake-lookingí low budget news show appears after Milan is killed, unbearable to sit through without feeling embarrassed for the makers. The stalker dresses up like Milan, even though the audience can clearly tell Milan is long gone and buried, but itís a nice feature to this mindclunker, which needs all the help it can get. The leads travel across the city to boring pageants, sketchy apartments, and peopleless parking lots for a major business. All for a bullshit payoff.

The best thing about April Foolís Day, not including the credits, could be the ending, or, the twist on top of the twist. We receive the same finale as the original...kind of, but then, some life is boosted in with a surprise murder! Too little Ė too late Ė so sad. Thereís nothing clever or colorful here. Just your typical DTV crud, only this time, itís worse. And is it just me, or do all of the teenagers have red eyes? Too many late nights, or...something else? Sony released an unrated DVD with the only extras being trailers for other films. Ouch. Audio and Video are clear, if it matters at all. Iím sure thereís more I could say about AFD 2008, but why waste more space? Convenient placing of events in a certain order cannot be concocted by the likes of man. If they think that they can trick you with this one, well, Scout Taylor-Compton said it best: ďYouíre lying!Ē Trash it!

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