Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In short: April Fool's Day (2008)

Evil rich girl Desiree Cartier (Taylor Cole) and her evil rich brother Blaine (Josh Henderson) use the debutant ball of Torrance Caldwell (Scout Taylor-Compton) for an attempt to humiliate Desiree's arch enemy Milan Hastings (Sabrina Aldridge) with a properly unfunny April Fool's joke. Things get a bit more intense than planned, though, leaving Milan dead of an allergic reaction to a roofie and the fall from a balcony, and everyone involved rather scandal-plagued.

One year later, an anonymous message invites the inner circle of the movie's jerks to Milan's graveside. There, a message tells them that the one responsible for Milan's death shall confess his or her crime, or else they all will be killed during the course of this April first. Which is of course what happens.

The only thing The Butcher Brothers' remake of 80s kinda-sorta slasher April Fool's Day does right is to not actually make a remake of the original movie, but only steal the date and part of the final plot twist from it. The original is after all easily available, so a remake that actually changes things seems the way to go.

Unfortunately, the directors turn this version of the film into a bland and obvious whodunit where the most boring killer imaginable kills bland and uninvolving characters in bland and uninvolving ways until the obvious plot twists occur in the obvious way. It's one of those films where characters nobody can give a crap about because they're neither sympathetic nor vile enough to be interesting are killed off in ways so uncreative and filmed with such dispiriting disinterest (hello, Stan Lee!) it's impossible not be bored by what happens on screen. From time to time, the film tries its hand at satire, but that aspect of the film falls as flat as everything else, for the film's caricatures are too superficially drawn to interest, while the supposed satire makes Sesame Street look like a cesspool of cynicism.

Acting and direction completely keep inside the (soap opera) bland, uninvolved and boring trinity the rest of the film sets up. Watching April Fool's Day, I couldn't avoid the impression that neither the actors nor anyone behind the camera actually gave a shit about the movie they produced, which not surprisingly resulted in a movie I don't give a shit about. I (perhaps too) often decry lack of ambition in contemporary low budget horror, but this one really takes the cake in this regard. It feels as if the filmmakers didn't even have the ambition to make a movie.

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