Review Date: August 26, 2002
Released by: Paramount
Release date: 9/3/2002
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 2.35:1 | 16x9: Yes
Muffy St. John (Deborah Foreman) is a rich college girl that will be inheriting her father's beautiful and secluded mansion in a few months. The mansion is so secluded that it has an island all to itself. The only way to and from the mansion is by a ferry from a small nearby town. Muffy invites some of her college friends up to the mansion for Spring Break. When her group of friends meet up on the ferry, the practical jokes begin. It is the day before April Fool's day, after all. Two of the guys, Arch (Thomas F. Wilson) and Skip (Griffin O'Neal), begin joking around with a knife. The two start arguing and before long, Arch is accidentally stabbed with the knife. It turns out that it was just a joke the two had planned; a joke that soon backfires on them. Buck (Mike Nomad), one of the ferrymen, has a serious injury as a result of their joke. He's rushed away by the local Sheriff, who promises the group of college kids that they're all in serious trouble.
The group arrives at Muffy's mansion, albeit a bit depressed after the recent accident they caused. Like most young adults, after a few drinks their problems are cured and the partying begins. And of course, all the while there are April Fool's Day jokes occuring left and right. As each person begins to get settled down for the night, they find an individual, personalized joke waiting in their room. It isn't until the next day - the real April Fool's Day - that the deadly mayhem begins. Skip (Griffin O'Neal) is missing, and is later seen floating, seemingly dead, by Rob (Ken Olandt) and Kit (Amy Steel). Slowly but surely, more and more members of the group turn up missing, and more dead bodies are discovered by the remaining survivors. Panic sets in, but help is soon on the way after the Sheriff calls in and assures them that he's on his way. The only question is, with fog rolling in to slow the Sheriff down and a killer among them, will the remainder of the group survive or fall victim to the killer?
April Fool's Day
is an impressive horror movie that manages to stand on its own, even amongst the crowded 80s slasher sub-genre. The mix of humor and horror works well in the movie. It's not a "horror comedy" like Evil Dead 2
or Idle Hands
, but there are plenty of humorous scenes that will have you chuckling. The acting isn't half bad, nor are the makeup effects, though I should point out that there aren't many gore scenes at all. The story itself, which is rather enjoyable, is setup as a mystery that slowly unfolds as the movie progresses. What really makes this movie so terrific is the ending, which may be predictable to some, but wasn't for me when I first saw it as a child. Of course, I don't want to spoil it, so that's all I'm going to say!
The movie isn't without faults. After watching it, one can easily compile a list of things that don't add up in the movie. But hey, as movie goers and horror fans, there's a point where you have to suspend logic a bit and enjoy what's on the screen. If you can do that, I highly recommended April Fool's Day
as an entertaining and humorous horror movie.
Like so many of their horror dvds, Paramount presents April Fool's Day
in its first ever 2.35:1 widescreen transfer, which is also 16x9 enhanced. While not quite as good as some of their past transfers, this one still earns high marks. The print is extremely clean with no signs of print damage. The image stays fairly sharp, with only a few scenes appearing soft and lacking in detail. There are several scenes that contain light grain, none of which becomes overly distracting. The few outdoor scenes look gorgeous, containing solid blacks and little grain. Colors on the transfer are slightly faded and flesh tones appear accurate. I'm rating this one with a B.
April Fool's Day
is presented with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Since the movie has hardly any action scenes, LFE activity is minimal, as are surrounds. The soundtrack does sound terrific here, and there are a handful of scenes that make effective use of the surrounds to build some tension. I did notice one dropout in the middle of the movie, which was perhaps a second in length and did not effect any dialogue.
Also included are English Dolby Surround and French Dolby Surround tracks.
Sadly, no extras are present on the DVD. I would have at least liked to have seen a trailer, but I know they're not always available.
Once again Paramount has released a top notch DVD in terms of audio/video quality, yet falls completely short in the supplements department. Many of those who are now spoiled by DVD will complain over the $24.99 price tag, but I still believe any DVD with great audio/video is worth twice that, regardless of the extras. As for the movie itself, I think most horror fans will find some enjoyment from it. It's not heavy on gore, but its humor and surprise twist certainly separate it from the rest of the 80s horror movies, many of which are just clones of one another.
Movie - B
Image Quality - B
Sound - B+
Supplements - N/A
- Running Time - 1 hour 28 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- 15 Chapter Stops
- English Dolby Digital 5.1
- English Dolby Surround
- French Dolby Surround