Directed by: Fred Walton
While there are a handful of new reviews I need to catch up on as I sat on my ass and watched movies all weekend as I tried to recover from a 4 week flu, I figured since today is April Fool's Day, I should finally get around to doing one on this little 80's gem that I only recently discovered for the first time.
I remember coming across this VHS many, many times back in the day of VHS, which honestly feels like many moons ago. But for one reason or another, I never took the time to watch it. I think that I just assumed it would be another low-budget cheese-fest, which it is anything but. No sir. What I pleasantly discovered was that April Fool's Day is a solidly made 80's horror slasher of the best kind. What surprised me more than anything is how well it's made. Director Fred Walton, whom I'm unfamiliar with, does an outstanding job on the tone and most importantly, the visuals. You won't find a single handheld shot in this thing, which was typical of low-budget slasher's back in the day. Needless to say, I was thoroughly impressed.
The story revolves around a girl who invites her classmates to a weekend get-together at her father's lake house for a weekend of fun and leisure. As soon as her classmates land on the island, things immediately start taking a turn for the worse, and they find themselves trapped on an island with no chance of escape, with a host who seems like she's got a few screws loose herself.
I think a lot of people will find this film surprising for a number of reasons, most importantly the impressive cast. It kills! And guess what? They're actually likable. When I threw this on I remember I kept yelling "She's in this?!", and "He's in this too?!". A really great ensemble cast is important, and the casting department did a bang-up job on this one. If you love horror, you'll know these kids.
What I love about 80's ensemble horror casting is that back then, it was so believable. These days, horror films are filled with people that don't look like normal human beings. They're too skinny. The women all have fake breasts. They look like they all just came out of a teen soap opera. They all look 15 years older than the parts they're supposed to play. But in the 80's, it was a totally different story. The stars of some of our favorite slashers looked like real people, with a good majority of them being fairly unattractive. It may sound like nitpicking, but it's a sad fact in the horror genre these days. While I certainly don't mind unnecessary nudity in my horror, when it's a bunch of skinny chicks with hideously fake boobs, then it's a huge turnoff. But I digress....
All in all, April Fool's Day is an extremely solid slasher. Well executed, acted, and entertaining throughout with a likable cast and plenty of style to burn. Last time I checked it was playing on Netflix in widescreen. Definitely worth a watch for some old-school horror if you're in the mood.