Movie Review: April Fools Day (1986)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1986 mystery/thriller starring Deborah Foreman and Amy Steel.

Synopsis: A group of college students agree to join one of their classmates at her parents' island mansion. Since it is the weekend of April Fools Day, they spend their time pulling pranks on each other. However, their fun soon turns to terror as members of their group are murdered. Since the only way off of the island is by boat, they must find a way to survive until help arrives.


My wife and I finished "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" earlier than expected and, since neither of us was quite ready to go to bed yet, we ended up watching this movie too. This is one I had heard about and, even though I could have sworn we had watched it once, was a film we hadn't seen. As it turns out, it was a pretty decent movie.

The thing I really liked about this movie was the mystery. It's pretty obvious, from very early on in the film, who is behind the murders. But, because it was a little too obvious, it also became apparent there was more going on than the writers were revealing.

As a result of this, my wife and I were much more engrossed in the film than we normally would expect to be. We were even debating our own theories about what was really happening on that island (it turns out I was right but she was also partially right).

The movie also worked surprisingly well as a thriller too, mostly because the remoteness of the mansion, coupled by the mystery about the murderer's motives kept the suspense built up just enough to keep us on our toes while watching it. We weren't sure when walking into a dark room would result in someone getting their head chopped off.

One thing that did surprise me quite a bit about this film was the relative lack of gratuitous sex I would normally expect to see in a movie from this genre and era. There were plenty of sexual references and one or two (relatively mild) sex scenes. But, unlike many other movies, it never reached a point where it was distracting us from the main plot. In other words, the writers seemed to realize they had a good movie and didn't risk messing it up by throwing in a bunch of unnecessary fluff.

Final Opinion

This movie definitely exceeded my expectations last night and is just unique enough to be worth taking the time to watch at least once.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 07/15/2016, StevenHelmer
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