April Fool's Day (2008)
By: Craig Villinger on April 1, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Sony (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. French Subtitles. 91 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: The Butcher Brothers
Starring: Taylor Cole, Josh Henderson, Scout Taylor-Compton, Joseph McKelheer, Joe Egender
Screenplay: Michael Wigart
Country: USA
April the 1st is a day for hoaxes, practical jokes, and leg pulling aplenty, but rest assured, this review is no lark - that pseudo-slasher from the 1980s that shares its name with the most prank filled day on the calendar has been remade, and the joke may very well be on those of us who take 91 minutes from our lives to watch it.

It's April fool's day 2007, and young socialites Desiree (Taylor Cole) and Blaine Cartier (Josh Henderson) are hosting a lavish "coming out" party for debutante Torrance (Scout Taylor-Compton) at their luxurious mansion, but evidently, mean spirited pranksterism is the real reason for the soirée. Together with their friends – gay gossip columnist Charles, wannabe filmmaker Ryan, politician in training Peter, and beauty queen Barbie - the filthy rich siblings have arranged to play a cruel prank on Desiree's rival, and the one member of the clique that might actually be a decent human being, Milan (Sabrina Ann Aldridge), but naturally one thing leads to another and Milian winds up dead, the victim of an apparent accident, after the practical joke goes horribly wrong.

Skip to one year later, and the pranksters receive a mysterious letter inviting them to Milan's gravesite with threats to expose the true nature of her "accidental" death unless the main culprit owns up, and soon after, members of the group begin to die in not so accidental circumstances. Yikes! Has Milan returned from the grave to take her revenge, or is someone taking the piss?

Before I begin my mauling of this latest remake I'd like to state one thing for the record – I am no remake hater. In fact, I believe remakes such as The Hills Have Eyes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are among the best genre offerings I've seen in the new millennium, so when I say April Fool's Day is a piece of shit I'm not saying it because I had decided it was going to suck six months before slipping the disc into my player, and I'm not saying it because I was pointlessly comparing every frame to the original, and I'm certainly not saying it because I think it will make me look like a super intellectual cinema elitist. No, when I say April Fool's Day is a piece of shit, I'm saying it because the film, as a standalone slice of entertainment viewed without any preconceptions, is quite simply, a piece of shit.

Just one minute in and I had already dismissed the main characters as nothing more than a stuck-up bunch of spoiled rich cunts that I had absolutely no desire to spend a further ninety minutes with, and while The Butcher Brothers (the duo responsible for the 2006 After Dark Horrorfest offering The Hamiltons) clearly do have some potential as filmmakers, it is wasted here on this unambitious cash-in, which, like the original, is more of a mystery/thriller than the slasher film its cover art wants us to think it is – albeit a mystery/thriller sans mystery and thrills. As directors they did at least seem to be trying to make the best of a bad situation, but even with its lavishly dressed sets, flashy automobiles, and impossibly attractive cast the whole film has a distinctly b-grade feel to it, which might go a ways to explaining it's straight to DVD status in an environment where even the most unexciting sounding remakes, like the one where a young women does little more than answer a telephone, can be a box office smash in several countries. In the scripting area they really dropped the ball though (the blame can be shared with others however). The film plods along at a snails pace from one boring set piece to the next, and dialogue, for the most part, is quite awful to listen to (one speculative scene in particular where the core characters try to figure out who is doing what and why was almost laughable).

In her knee high boots and mini-skirt, star Taylor Cole is almost hot enough to make you overlook the rest of April Fools Day's shortcomings, but she is given little support from the rest of the cast who for some strange reason are all quite attractive yet remain fully clothed for the entire film. And as for the "murder" scenes… they are unimaginative and virtually bloodless. Don't let the "Unrated" tag fool you – there's barely enough blood in this flick to fill a shot glass! No blood, no boobs… no point. Honestly, I expected more from a duo calling themselves the "Butcher" brothers!

Oh, and just in case the above synopsis didn't give it away, this "remake" has pretty much nothing in common with the original April Fools Day expect for the ridiculous twist ending that everyone will see coming (even if they haven't seen it before), and can't really be considered a remake at all. Those who don't want to sit through another mindless rehashing of events ala Psycho, or The Omen, might be pleased by the fact that this is more or less an "original" movie, however those looking for thrills, chills, blood, guts, hot young flesh, and above all else, entertainment, will be left weeping into their hands by this tedious snooze-fest.
Video
The 16:9 enhanced 1.85:1 presentation looks crisp and colourful, and while it is pretty much faultless the clarity and sharpness won't exactly blow your mind. The movie was shot digitally on HD which, for my money, still can't compare to film, even when viewed at home.
Audio
An English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is the only option here, and while the sound quality is uniformly excellent, like most straight to DVD flicks the full sound stage is rarely utilized. This is one of those "May as well be stereo" tracks.
Extra Features
Nothing more than a bunch of trailers for other Sony DVD releases and some propaganda for the Blu-ray format.
The Verdict
Don't hate it because it's a remake… just hate it. The original April Fool's Day wasn't that good to begin with, but it did at least have a tongue-in-cheek appeal that has seen it achieve a degree of cult status over the years. This modern update however is totally forgettable, and is little more than a boring waste of time. Avoid it! Hell, if I can't even write a semi-positive review on the 1st of April what hope does it have?
Movie Score
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