Friday, 3 April 2015

April Fools Day

I'm a fan of slasher films, of course I like the big three; Halloween, Friday The 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street, but in the glut of their heyday in the 1980's many get lost in the shuffle, which is a shame because there were some true gems out there such as Pisces, Chopping Mall, Christmas Evil and todays subject April Fools Day.

Released in 1986 by Paramount Pictures the film could also be described as a dark comedy whodunit, mixing humour with a somewhat Agnatha Christie style mystery. The set up is several teens have been invited to spend the weekend leading up to April Fools Day at the mansion owned by mutual friend Muffy on an island just off the main land. On the ferry over a prank by two of the teens leads to one of the ferrymen been seriously injured and having to be rushed to hospital using the local sherifs boat, the sherif in turn has to take the only other boat to get back to the mainland, leaving the teens without a way off the island.

Once at the house the teens realise Muffy has set up lots of pranks around the house from dribble glasses, whoopee cushions, chairs with folding legs that will collapse if you lean back to doorknobs that will simply fall off when you use them. The pranks go down well as the night progresses and when the teens head off to bed we surprisingly only have one couple having sex, the others mostly falling into more pranks including an exploding cigar. One teen Skip sneaks off to the boat house to smoke a joint when a figure walks out the shadows.

The next day the rest assume Skip is just off goofing around someplace and it isn't till someone spots his dead body floating in the water that they start to become suspicious, one by one they start to go missing and body’s are found until only two remain, who is behind it all?  One of the ferrymen out for revenge, Muffy herself, or are the strange letters and newspaper clipping about an escaped mental patient more than another prank?

I really loved this film and it may end up on my favourite slasher films list, it's humorous especially in the first half as they fall into Muffys pranks but quickly descends into horror and suspense in the latter as the body’s pile up and the mystery deepens. It also deviates from the typical slasher formula in places, the character Nan is your typical last girlbut is found dead mid way through, stuff like this keeps you off guard even if you know the tropes.  And the cast is good, from the acting to the characters, I didn't find any annoying, they were all fun and likeable and interacted well with each other.

Now I should warn, the ending of this film is a love it or hate it kinda thing, I know people who can't stand it but personally  I love it. So I say, check it out and decide for yourself!

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