APRIL FOOL’S DAY
R | 89min | 1986 | USA | Fred Walton
Synopsis: A group of wealthy college co-eds escape to a private island to celebrate spring break. They have little idea that their April Fool’s weekend is no laughing matter.
Review: ‘April Fool’s Day’ is no laughing matter.
Reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, and the movie Clue (1985) April Fool’s Day uniquely picks off its characters one by one. The film wastes no time getting to the sex and gore as within the first 15 minutes we bear witness to a gory accident and find out that these college co-eds like to “fuck on the first date”. This film serves as a tight little time capsule for the 1980s through its social commentary on money, secrets, cold war fears, abortion, drugs, and hating your parents. The women wear the pants (and tie in some circumstances) in this film and show the men how to get things done whether it’s climbing down the well, saving a friend, or masterminding plans.
Beside the strong female presence, April Fool’s Day offers up Ken Olandt in his big screen debut. For those of you who don’t know him, he went on to give us such memorable characters as Larry the eternally sleepy student by day, stripper by night in Summer School (1987) and Jennifer Aniston’s on screen beau, Nathan Murphy in Leprechaun (1993). Likewise, the film is often carried by the acting of horror alumnus, Amy Steel. With the same moxie as she donned as Ginny Field in Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Amy fights her way through to the end of this 80s’ slasher film all while her boyfriend (Olandt) is locked crying in the closet. As far as final females go, Steel’s character Kit Graham gets to have her cake and eat it as she gets to be the aggressor in her sexualized relationship and she never needs saving.
In my humble opinion and without giving away too many spoilers, this film takes horror twists to new ends and offers one of the best endings in horror history. It offers up some memorable deaths without a high body count. While playing into the tropes of the genre, it successfully offers new alternatives. When looking up this film one could be easily mislead by the frequent references to it as comedy horror. Make no mistake, this film is horror and dismissing it because of its comedic references leaves a large gap in horror history.