Tuesday, November 25, 2008

April Fool's Day

When it comes to horror rentals, I've always been a sucker for box art. I'm the guy who took home Christmas Evil convinced I had a classic 'cause Santa had an axe and was heading down the chimney. For Ghoulies it was the demon peeking out of the toilet, Sleepaway Camp: the impaled sneaker. You get the idea...

So around '86 when I was confronted by a VHS box featuring a girl with her hair braided into a noose, I didn't stand a chance. Despite my initial disappointment that this was not in fact the story of an evil Rapunzel-type dame who goes around hanging people with her hair, I quickly snapped it up and headed home. Good thing too.

April Fool's Day is a fun little movie. It's also an easy one to spoil so I'll keep the plot details brief. A rich girl named Muffy (Valley Girl's Deborah Foreman) invites her friends up for a weekend of April Fool's trickery at her island estate. But dribble glasses and break-away chairs quickly give way to a far more sinister agenda. The jokes get personal, Muffy's friends start disappearing and their hostess seems to be sinking into insanity.

Now here's the interesting part, since the film always wants to keep you guessing about what is real and what's a gag, very little onscreen violence is actually shown. For a gorehound like me the thought of Friday the 13th-like setups without the grisly payoffs might sound tedious but it actually makes for a pretty original slasher flick. The Agatha Christie inspired script ramps up the mistrust and tension and the cast is a talented bunch of familiar 80s faces. Hey isn't that Back To the Future's Biff (Thomas F. Wilson)? Yep. Friday the 13th Part 2 survivor Amy Steel? Yes, indeedy. But Foreman steels the show. Her cute n' crazy Muffy is memorable even if she doesn't hang anyone with her hair. Yeah, that still kinda bothers me.


spacejack said...

I actually saw this movie in the theatre (but not The Gate - go figure.) It is a fun watch, that toys with the viewer a lot.

This review brings up an issue I've so far avoided tackling: how "Canadian" is Canadian enough to include a movie in this blog?

Personally I'm of the opinion that if we really want to review something, then you can use just about any Canadian content, actor, writer, location etc. as an excuse. (April Fools Day was filmed in B.C., so that's a pass right there as far as I'm concerned.)

It might be nice to give a quick summary of what's Canadian about the film we're reviewing, but it's not always that easy to find that exact info, especially with how many films are co-productions, star American actors, or are funded in some part by foreign money.

So basically, I'm not sure how to handle it right now and am open to any ideas.

Briny Picklestem said...

OK Spacejack I hear ya. April Fool's Day was indeed filmed in BC. It also starred some Canadian actors including Leah Pinsent (theater-great Gordon Pinsent's daughter). It is certainly a case of Canada being used as a cheap backlot. The question I guess is where to draw the line. If it's Canadian enough to get the tax credits is it Canadian enough for this blog? I don't know man. I admit I still don't think of the X-files as a Canadian tv show. but it kind of is.