Film Review: April Fool’s Day – 5.5/10

‘It’s gotta be better than nice. It’s gotta be bloody unforgettable...’

One of the consequences of Halloween‘s success was the rash of holiday-themed slasher films that followed in its wake. Friday the 13th, Graduation Day, My Bloody Valentine, Christmas Evil etc etc. One of the more bizarre entries was 1986’s April Fool’s Day. Produced by Friday the 13th producer Frank Mancuso from director Fred Walton (When a Stranger Calls), April Fool’s Day is a prime example of a film in which the destination is far better than the journey…

Rich girl Muffy (Deborah Foreman) invites a group of friends (including Biff from Back to the Future) over to her secluded mansion. When they start being killed off one by one it appears that we are in expected slasher territory. Truly, however, nothing here is as it seems.

At a time in which slasher movies were becoming ever more violent, April Fool’s Day is actually pretty restrained. There are plenty of deaths here but most of the action happens off-screen. The cast are fine if a little interchangeable but the movie doesn’t really come to life until the bonkers third-act twist. This reveal saves the film because large swathes of the first hour are particularly tedious. The final scene tagged on at the end and filmed months after production had wrapped muddies the waters somewhat, but in the end, I was mostly satisfied with April Fool’s Day. It’s not an essential part of the slasher canon but it is worth watching for fans of the genre.

April Fool’s Day is a weird and at times baffling movie with a terrific twist ending. They sure fooled me.

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