April Fool's Day:
I'm only slightly bummed, and that's a blessing. I wasn't exactly hyped up, but I thought I'd be reviewing the original April Fool's Day, itself not a very good movie, but as a late-wave adopter of the holiday-themed slashers from the '80s, mildly amusing and worlds - light-years better than this 2008 Sony Pictures release directed by The Butcher Brothers. I guess the April Fool is me, or anyone taken in by the fact that this movie has a very similar plot to the original, and even uses imagery in the publicity material (that never materializes in the movie, mind you) that is nearly identical to that used in the original movie also. (OK, so I realize now that this is a by-golly stinking remake ... like we needed one.)
My standard top-loaded apology now; I know everyone who worked on this movie is trying to make a living while working on their respective crafts, but April Fool's Day (2008) is so melon-freaking awful that it's hard not to believe the aforementioned aren't all contemptuous, lazy ash-bowls laughing in their leased Audis as they drive to Starbucks. Anyway, let's try to take this seriously, to tell you about super-rich young Desiree Cartier and her silly April Fool's Day debutante's ball, where she usually pranks someone who has, like, integrity or whatever. But this time, the pranked ends up a goner, and all of Desiree's super-rich, snotty friends act shocked and secretly guilty as sin until, one year later, a mysterious figure starts snooping around and friends begin dropping.
Now back to the trashing. April Fool's Day (2008) makes I Still Know What You Did Last Summer look like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (and it hurts like hell to even have to specify that there's an original). Obviously the plot is as tired as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest, but there's lots more wrong here. Is it scary? Not in the slightest - two moments of brief, mild tension take their cues from Scream (that sound you hear is the bottom of every barrel in the world being scraped) and otherwise there's nothing but lethal The O.C. quality teenie-bopper drama. Drama acted by substandard thesps trading in good looks and smarm. Please, folks, don't stop waiting tables. Either the cowardly Butcher Brothers had no idea how to get performances out of you that weren't grating, broad and 1/2-dimensional, or you thought you could just magically turn it on, but all of your work comes across like a lazy pastiche of every rich-kid on TV cliché imaginable.
This thing is billed as being unrated, probably because Stage 6 and 360 Pictures didn't have the time to figure out how to submit this clunker to the MPAA. There is one bloody throat slitting and a gunshot-to-head, but otherwise, April Fool's Day would have likely made a PG-13 rating with few problems. Speaking of which, the problems continue to mount, culminating in the worst double-twist-ending ever - both predictable and nonsensical. April Fool's Day is a real chore to sit through. I had to force myself to keep watching, checking the time every ten-minutes or so, hoping that this tepid, terrible and trying malfunction would just end already. Seriously? Stay far away.
In a 1.85:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen presentation, April Fool's Day looks gorgeous, with deep, rich colors, a sharp and glittering transfer, and free of all compression artifacts or blemishes. It's a high definition transfer, and done right.
Dolby Digital English 5.1 Audio gets the mix just right. Not having a 5.1 system, I'm not sure how complicated the sound scheme is, but didn't seem to notice too much of an emphasis on tricky placement or eerie, subwoofer-testing music.
French Subtitles, Closed Captioning, Scene Selections, and Previews for 12(!) other Sony Releases, plus a Blu-ray promo are the only extras, in keeping with the level of Fail associated with this release.
Sumptuously staged, well shot and beautifully lit, April Fool's Day brings a new level of total crap to straight-to-DVD horror. I want my crap to at least look awful, but in every other way this movie sucks. Plot? Risible. Acting? Just slap me, call me a bitch and get it over with - the end result is the same. Scary? Scary to think of all the resources wasted. Unrated? Don't believe the hype, kids. And kids will be the only ones naïve enough to fall for this, a movie that would actually be improved by the presence of Paris Hilton. It's that bad. I wish there was a rating more harsh than Skip It, but that's what I'll say: Skip It, Skip It, Skip It.
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com