April Fool’s Day: A Movie That’s No Joke
By: Chris Darkes - March 1, 2017
Category : 80's
I woke up this morning to an unusually dark room, and the sound of rain hammering against the window pane. The sky has continued to cave in for the better part of a month now. The rain sometimes gets me irrationally excited because it creates a moody atmosphere and allows a bubble in which to collect my thoughts. Sometimes it brings me back to a specific time and place. This writing will be the latter.
While it may sound a touch early to write about a film centering around April Fool’s Day, or a tad late for a 30 year old movie review — either way this film is perfect for a rainy afternoon ( I wouldn’t watch it too late at night). One of the games I absolutely loved growing up was Clue. A murder mystery with a big reveal in a stately mansion. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy this film so much. It’s really got all of that. But toned down in a really tight, end-of-your-seat storyline. Alright let’s get to it — The story unfolds with a group of college kids taking a ferry to join their wealthy friend for a spring break trip on the cusp of April Fool’s Day. All they know is the party will be hosted by their friend, Muffy St. John (Deborah Foreman), at her parent’s island estate.
Immediately after unpacking their suitcases, the groups finds out Muffy has set a series of practical jokes and pranks around the mansion. Some harmless: breakable chair gags and trick cigars. Some disturbing: A recorded sound of a baby crying and heroin paraphernalia. While slightly alarming, they figure it’s just to break the ice, and give a taste of things in store. Everyone seems to be having a great time roaming the giant property, when Muffy’s brother goes unexpectedly missing. The fun is brought to a halt, and searching the compound begins. However, the woodsy landscape makes it difficult to comb through easily. One of the girls played by Amy Steel of Friday the 13th Part 2 fame, checks the dock where the ferry had originally dropped them off, and swears she sees their missing friend floating by, under the slits in the floorboard.
Soon two others disappear, and the group begins to piece the clues that tie the killer. Another girl, Nikki, slips into a well, and finds what she believes to be the head of one of their friends. Realizing if they don’t get off the island they’re sitting ducks…they attempt to reach the police. But the phone lines are down and there’s no ferry until Monday of the next week.
With nowhere else to go, all they can do is uncover the truth behind Muffy, and her sudden personality twist. With the clock ticking, they must stop their friend from eliminating the rest of the group, alert the police, and stay alive…
I really, really want to give away the ending, but I feel like if you’re going to watch it, you mine as well be surprised. It should be under the disclaimer: If you haven’t seen this movie in 30 years, you deserve to get the ending spoiled, but truthfully this film deserves a viewing. I wouldn’t say it’s a brilliant film by any means, but thriller/horror movies don’t always play up logic well. In this case, the film gets a gold star. The film is shot beautifully, taking advantage of the great British Columbia scenery. I wanted to dust off the film because I think it gets categorized as the film that killed the slasher-era 80’s movie. The film left a lot of people frustrated, because it’s not a slasher film at all. In fact, you don’t see any onscreen deaths. For someone looking for that, you’re going to be mega-disappointed. But I’m a sucker for a great thriller, and if you are too, I highly recommend watching this just in time for April Fool’s Day.
Also published on Medium.