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April Fool's Day (2008)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 3/25/2008
All Ratings out of
Extras: No Extras
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 3/17/2008
I can't imagine what it's like to live in New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago. Not because of the hustle & bustle. Not because of the high cost of living. Not because of the amount of things to do. (Although, all of those things certainly fit the bill.) No, I can't imagine what it's like to live in a city which is consistently the location for movies. It must be amazing to dwell near locations which are constantly in movies. Thus, I was excited to watch April Fool's Day, which was shot in my hometown of Charlotte. By the time that it was over, my constant refrain of "Hey, I've been there!" may have been annoying, but it was far more entertaining than the movie.
April Fool's Day introduces us to Desiree (Taylor Cole) and Blaine Cartier (Josh Henderson), who are the toast of high society in their town. (Which may actually be Charlotte...they do say that it takes place in North Carolina.) Following the death of their parents, the siblings are set to inherit the Cartier fortune. Desiree is infamous for her practical jokes. She decides to throw a coming out party for her friend Torrance (Scout Taylor-Compton). She invites her close friends, Ryan (Joe Egender), Peter (Samuel Child) and his wife, Barbie (Jennifer Siebel). Local gossip columnist Charles (Joseph McKelheer) is also in attendance. The most important person on the guest list isn't Torrance, but Milan (Sabrina Aldridge), on whom Desiree plans to play a trick. (I'm not sure if we ever really learn why Milan is the target of Desiree's scorn.) Unfortunately, the trick goes awry and Milan is killed.
The story then leaps ahead one year. The group of friends each receive and invitation to meet at Milan's grave. Once there, they receive a package showing someone they know being murdered. Has Milan risen from the grave to wreak her vengeance? Suddenly, Desiree is seeing Milan everywhere that she goes and those around her begin to die. What can Desiree do to stop this?
Those familiar with the 1986 horror film April Fool's Day may assume from the title that this is a remake. However, that film told the story of how the mysterious Muffy invited her friends on an island getaway which turned into a murder-mystery. The film was released during the tail-end of the slasher cycle and focused more on the mystery than on the gore. (It's not a great movie, but it's novel approach to the genre has earned a place in the hearts of some fans.) This new April Fool's Day movie shares only one aspect with the 1986 film and it will spoil the movie for those who know the older movie. (Although, the credits state the this movie is based on a screenplay Danilo Bach, so they want us to think that it's a remake.)
In retrospect, maybe the makers of April Fool's Day should have done a remake of the original, as this new movie is simply garbage. The new script by co-directors Phil Flores & Mitchell Altieri (credited as The Butcher Brothers) and Mikey Wigart has less to do with the original April Fool's Day and plays more like a rip-off of I Know What You Did Last Summer or Prom Night (the original, not the new remake, which I haven't seen). From there, there isn't much plot in April Fool's Day. Once the group leaves the cemetery, we follow Desiree around for the rest of the day as she keeps encountering someone who looks like Milan, and witnessing the deaths of her friends. There are very few clues as to who's behind the murders, and those we do get are very transparent. Instead, it's simply scene after scene of Desiree driving around Charlotte ("Hey! It's Bank of America Stadium! I've been there!") and watching people die. The finale will only surprise the most naive viewers and the final scene, which is apparently supposed to be shocking, is simply silly.
To make matters worse, April Fool's Day feels like a cheap and poorly-made film. The Butcher Brothers' previous film, The Hamiltons, had a nice twist ending, but the movie was excruciatingly slow. They've quickened the pace somewhat here, but we are also treated to a number of shots of nothing. Simply count the number of shots of locals extras acting goofy at the party during the film's opening. From there, we get many shots of Desiree's car. The low-point comes in the scene where Desiree is being chased through a parking deck. As most of the film takes place in one day, we've seen many shots of Desiree's stiletto-heel black boots. However, when she's being chased, she's clearly wearing black sneakers and black knee-socks which are supposed to look like the boots. Take two!
As someone who was mildly entertained by 1986's April Fool's Day, I was curious to see the remake. What I got was a sloppy, unoriginal movie which is light on action, suspense, thrills, or good dialogue. Fans of the original will hate this movie and only the most desperate younger viewer will find anything to like in it. If I hadn't been so enthralled with the locations, I probably wouldn't have finished the movie. Charlotte deserves better. (No, Shallow Hal, I'm not looking at you.)
April Fool's Day arrives one week early on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The movie has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The move was shot on HD and thus, the image is sharp and clear. The picture shows no grain or defects from the source material. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark. However, the image is very flat and there's no crispness to it, adding to the low-budget feel. The DVD offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. We get some good stereo effects during a car chase, and there are moments of surround sound during the party. I didn't detect any notable subwoofer action.
There are no bonus features on this DVD.
Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long