Poster for 1980 movie April Fools Day

Movie review: April Fools Day (1986)

Synopsis: A millionairess invites her college friends to stay at her mansion on a deserted island for the weekend. However, it’s not long before the bodies start piling up.

Director: Fred Walton

Starring: Deborah Foreman, Griffin O’Neal and Clayton Rohner

Review: A group of rich friends celebrate the end of an era by visiting the mansion of mutual friend Muffy (Foreman). Some have known her for years, while others are new acquaintances. The house has a number of quirks which the friends all discover, from paintings whose eyes follow you around the room, to faulty light switches and collapsing chairs, all of which builds the tension. Intrigue follows supposition, with clues, murder and more than a little mayhem.

There’s a few character cliches but the friendly jokes and easy-going manner between characters draw you in, making you feel part of the group. They are a group who love to play practical jokes on each other which tempers some of the more horrific parts of the movie. However, like all friendships they can become strained under pressure and seeing the cracks form adds to the tension but it is the changes seen in Muffy which personifies the groups descent into madness.

Like a lot of 80’s horror, the musical score seems to have been kept to a minimum which I like. I”m not a fan of most slasher horror movies, preferring a supernatural slant, but April Fools Day steers away from excessive gore or overt violence allowing the tension to build as each victim discovers the identity of the killer just as it’s too late.

From the beginning there are clues to the final twist. I’m not going to spoil anything but take it all in. It’s a slow build movie which allows you to enjoy the relationships and interplay between the characters as well as trying to work out who the potential killer might be.

While the fashion seems a little dated now, the script and story and ultimately the friendship of the cast, stand the test of time, making this a true genre classic. Come and join the party, this April Fool’s Day.

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