April Fools Day (1986)
The 80s was an era of slasher films. The upshot of this phenomenon is that there were a lot of great slasher films of the era, the downside is that there were a lot more terrible ones. April Fools Day falls at almost the exact fulcrum point between good and bad.
The characters are perfectly acceptable, the plot is a bit of a slow burn but works well-enough, the kills or rather the reveals of the grisly results of the kills are effective. But there's just not much of a hook here beyond a final act twist that just spoils the whole thing.
I'd give a spoiler warning but it's been over thirty years and the title is April Fools Day. It's all a joke! All the deaths were faked as an elaborate run-through of a murder mystery bed and breakfast experience by the “killer” Muffy who invited them to her fancy island estate. Its a weak enough ending but the movie inexplicably decides to continue for an entire ten minutes where logic would dictate that the rug would be pulled out from under us, but it's just another fake-out, making the whole thing a pretty pointless endeavor. The song that plays over the end credits is pretty great,
April Fools Day is fine but that's the absolute best thing I could possibly say about it.
April Fools Day (2008)
The 2008 remake of April Fools Day is about some rich assholes in North Carolina who witness/cause the accidental death of their friend at a debutante ball.
This was a theatrical movie released in the latter years of the '00s and it looks cheeeeeap. The quality of film and acting here is somewhere around the quality of a higher-budget Full Moon film. I wish no ill-will to any of these actors who I’m sure would be able to do better with more interesting material, but nobody stands out in the bunch.
The closest thing to a name in the movie is Scout-Taylor Compton who enjoyed a brief career bump due to her role as Laurie Strode in the Halloween remake franchise, I’ve seen her and enjoyed her in other movies but here I couldn’t pick her out in a lineup of one. Her character, Torrance (I looked it up on IMDb), is the best character in the movie in that she seems to have more of a personality than her peers but that’s the best I can say. It doesn’t really matter because almost none of these characters are likeable, I want most of them to die, particularly the protagonist.
This movie is weak-sauce and I wish I could just say it's dumb or lacking in creative kills. It is those things but mostly April Fools Day is just boring. A movie can be boring and a movie can be shoddily made but if a theatrically released movie looks only slightly better than a direct-to-video movie and it's boring at the same time then I see no reason why anyone should ever have to watch it. I couldn't even find an interesting screen-cap for the preview image.
There is a kind of neat twist on the ending of the original film in this one, which is the only thing that passes for a reference here and it could still be unintentional. The ending doesn’t save the movie but it’s at least something that’s mildly appealing.
Is it a good remake?
It's not really a remake at all. There are no plot similarities here beyond young people who are friends and the date of April 1st. This is a remake in name only and even if it wasn't, it still fails to complete the fairly mild task of being better than the mediocre original film.
Does it stand on its own?
No! This isn't even a bargain-bin beauty, it's just a dull forgettable slog that feels overlong at 90 minutes. There's nothing new, there's nothing interesting, this movie is a dial tone.
Watch, Toss, or Buy?
Even if this movie was readily available, which it's not (time has justifiably passed April Fools Day by), this wouldn't be worth the trouble. The cheapest I can find it for is $4 and that's too much to pay for what amounts to an overlong episode of Gossip Girl.