Wednesday, April 30, 2008

d. The Butcher Brothers

Reviewed by Simon Oakland

I know what some of you are thinking. "Ugh. Another remake?"

Yes, indeedy. Another remake. And why not? They're all the rage nowadays. And as you can see, now that most all of the major horror classics have been redone in the past ten years, absolutely everything is up for grabs, no matter how banal. It's gotten so bad that virtually every "new" movie that comes out today is yet another inferior crap remake, and personally speaking they've all begun blending together in my brain. Point of fact: even though I was told time and again that I'd be reviewing APRIL FOOLS DAY, and even though I had looked at the case itself both when it was first given to me and right before I pushed "play", I still had to laugh when the movie started, for up until then I kept mistakenly referring to it in my head as PROM NIGHT!

But I guess thinking back, that was a form of denial. APRIL FOOLS DAY? Ah, crap. Growing up back in the 80s, I was a HUGE fan of slasher movies, but APRIL FOOLS DAY is the one film in the genre I've never been able to stomach. What's the point of watching a slasher movie where everyone dies off camera? And once you figure out the gimmick (and most people will figure it out pretty quickly) there's still at least an hour left for you to suffer through. Perhaps the worst part of the experience for me was getting the impression that the filmmakers honestly thought they were being creative geniuses or something. But whatever. If studios are bound and determined come hell and highwater to remake every secondary and tertiary title in the horror catalog, then they may as well do APRIL FOOLS DAY. At least it isn't one of the "classics" by any stretch of the imagination. I guess when it comes down to it that has always been my complaint about remakes: they usually stick to only the classics like PSYCHO or HALLOWEEN that can't really be improved, and 99% of the time only succeed in making them worse. So to that end I should be thankful that they did APRIL FOOLS DAY and not PHANTASM. With a property like AFD, how could they make it any worse?

Quick answer: They couldn't. This modern remake is way better. But let's keep that in perspective, shall we? Just because it's better still doesn't mean it's very good. The premise that I hated with the original is still present here, and features the typical "hot looking" hip young cast that populates most Hollywood films nowadays. AFD is strictly geared for the teenybopper jet-set: a niche group I was never a part of, even when I was the age they're marketing to. The cover boasts it as being "unrated", but let's face facts: with the possible exception of crude language there is nothing on hand that warrants a rating harsher than PG-13. More likely, seeing as how it's a direct-to-video release they never bothered to submit it to the MPAA to begin with.

Synopsis: A bunch of Barbie and Kens get together for an April Fools Day shindig and pull a prank on a skank and she snuffs it real bad. Flash forward a year and 5 of the most obnoxious people who attended the previous year's shindig are targeted for revenge and intense snuffage.

As far as plotlines go that one is pretty well worn.

Starring (among others) Scout Taylor-Compton (Laurie Strode in Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN).

However much APRIL FOOLS DAY is so not my cup of tea, I must give credit where credit is due. The movie is well made, with absolutely none of that "Shaky-cam" edited for the Attention Deficit crowd nonsense that plagues most modern horror movies. Thank you Butcher Brothers! At least it was watchable from start to finish.

Sony Pictures releases APRIL FOOLS DAY direct to video with no extras save for previews of 12 other Sony horror titles.

1 comment:

Saturday Fright Special said...

I couldn't agree more with Isaac on the point about the ridiculously hip characters being outside my ability to realte to. While Taylor Cole may be amazingly lovely, the character she played was uninteresting, as were the rest of the characters. Write a script about a fascinating character, develop a compelling story around her and then put Miss Cole in a short mini-skirt and you'll catch my attention to a greater degree.