April Fools Day (1986) is a crafty little film that to the in trained eye could be easily written off as ‘just another slasher film’. Coming at the tail end of the golden era of slasher movies April Fools Day manages to be far more intelligent then the audience watching it. It has a subtle post modern streak running through the entire film. It knows it’s a slasher, it knows things have been done to death and it plays up to them.
If New Nightmare refined this and Scream perfected it Fools Day pioneers it. This ties in with the whole April Fools Day motif and the fact that early into the film a double bluff is pulled so as to keep the audience guessing. Those who dislike the twist at the end miss the whole point the film is the ‘prank’ and better for it. Unlike themed slashers from the 90s onwards this film sticks to its ideas and fils the movie with jokes, scares and deaths all themed around bad luck and pranks gone wrong. The jack in the box wrap around always sets me on edge coupled with the bouncy playful score that’s just the other side of unnerving. The cast do a great job of acting natural and feel like friends who know each other and don’t seem like stock characters. Few films these days manage to make you believe in the people your watching too interested in selling you the movie with sex appeal and ‘stunt’ casting.
April Fools Day is a great example of movie making to make a film and NOT to sell t-shirts. Though I know I’d rather own an April Fools tee then a Twilight one. The film sets a great atmosphere and creepy vibe throughout and even shows a mean steak towards the final strech. I applaud it for having guts to pull a last minute scare/prank on the audience literally winking at us before the credits roll. Anyone who isn’t left with a big smile on their face is made of stone.
–Wesley James Skelly