MARCH 11, 2008
Oh, April Fool’s Day, you fucking worthless excuse for a movie... why oh why do you exist?
Excluding cynicism, there are two reasons to remake a film: 1. To improve on a concept that was botched for whatever reason (studio interference, poor acting, whatever) in the original version, or 2. To introduce a once popular film to a new generation. Well, April Fool’s Day was NOT a popular film, and it’s only 20 years old, so the children of the teens that saw it in theaters when it was released are probably like 7 or so for the most part, and thus won’t really care. So does the film improve on the concept of the original?
(Note - spoilers ahead, but you'd almost have to TRY to not figure out the ending 12 seconds into the film).
No. Not even close. The original is actually a lot of fun, but it’s sort of spoiled by the ending, which reveals everything was a joke and no one’s really dead. So a remake would correct that, and have everyone REALLY die this time (or at least use AFD’s original ending and have the prank be revealed, and then suddenly a real killer shows up), right? Sadly, no one involved with this movie was that intelligent, apparently. In fact, they take their stupidity a step further – this movie actually has NOTHING in common with the original (different story, different characters, even a different setting entirely) EXCEPT for the idiotic ending!
Yes, once again, it’s all a prank. They try to sell one or two of the kills as real (one of them is an actress and thus has access to an entire Savini-style workshop, I guess), but for the most part they don’t even try. The main girl (Taylor Cole) is the only one who ever “sees” the murders, and even then she is always just stumbling on their bodies moments after they are “killed”. Maybe if you’ve never seen a horror movie in your life you will be fooled, but it’s so blatantly obvious that the killings are staged that I honestly thought for a long time that the twist would be that the killings WERE real this time around, and that the Butcher Brothers (squandering all of their promise from The Hamiltons, which wasn't much to begin with) were pulling a meta-joke on the audience – making real killings seem fake so the jaded audience familiar with the original would be surprised. Even the equally abysmal Catacombs did a better job at presenting a fake killer.
Unlike the original, this one isn’t very fun either. The characters are all completely unlikable (only Scout Taylor-Compton, queen of the unnecessary remakes, plays someone who isn’t a snooty prick) and they aren’t amusing. The original’s group had a nice repartee; I believed they were friends. These assholes don’t even seem to like each other, and while some of the girls are ridiculously hot (Cole looks like the scientifically amazing offspring of Chrarisma Carpenter and Evangeline Lilly, thus making her one of the hottest women in the world) the fact that we don’t even get to see any of them actually die just makes the movie WORSE.
Actually, there is one small exception – the character of David, played by Hamiltons’ Samuel Child. He’s an idiot running for Senate, so this results in a few Republican jokes. He also delivers one of the film’s two memorable lines when he drunkenly tells a guy “I’ll have you raped by a wizard!” for some goddamn reason.
The other good line comes from Blaine, our would-be hero, who’s also the most insufferable of them all. Most of the time he’s just being a jerk, but he takes a quick break from that winning character trait in order to deliver what HAS to be a meta line about the film itself. Scout’s character (the actress) is appearing in a bad slasher movie, and he comments “who cares about that movie - it doesn't even have any big stars!” Brilliant.
Let’s see, what else sucked? Well there’s the 25 minute prologue* that should have been 5 (it’s a year earlier and some of the characters are planning a prank. We know someone’s going to die – get the fuck to it!), nonsensical plot (the whole town seems to be in on the prank), a lengthy “Inside Edition” type news show with the fakest screen graphics I’ve ever seen in a film (note the hilarious “sports scores”) that does absolutely nothing but hint at the film’s obvious plot holes that result from some rewriting/post production editing, etc.
Yes, in this news scene one of the characters (another guy from Hamiltons) has written a book about the prank gone wrong, and the reporter cryptically notes that it’s not the first time he’s been involved with a high profile murder. It’s never mentioned again. Later, the heroine is explaining why everyone is guilty of something, and mentions that David couldn’t keep his dick in his pants, which caused a problem of some sort. No idea what the fuck she was talking about there. It’s later alleged that he had an affair with the dead girl (presumably BEFORE she died), but again – it seemingly has no bearing on anything. One only needs to read the confusing screenplay credits to know that this was a script that went through a lot of hands (it’s “based on a screenplay by” both the original film’s writer AND the Butcher Brothers, and yet written by someone else entirely), and boy does it show.
All in all, there is absolutely no reason anyone should watch this movie. The “unrated” label means absolutely nothing – this film is BARELY worthy of a PG-13 (hell, they probably got a PG from the MPAA and were embarrassed by it), there is no actual gore or nudity, the twist is obvious (though to be fair they add a little extra bit of business to it, however it’s of no real consequence), the characters suck, and they don’t even bother to give the killer a mask. Everyone was surprised that it didn’t go into theaters – having seen it, it’s more amazing that the studio ever even considered it. Even Lionsgate would probably pass on this shit. This is easily the worst remake of the current crop (and no, I haven’t forgotten Scout’s other one) – I have to go back to Psycho 98 to think of one so utterly worthless.
What say you?
*I should note that this may be the first movie tagline (“She has a killer party planned”) that only references the film’s prologue – because there is no party at any other point in the movie. Also, saying “she” would pretty much spoil the ending if they were referring to the actual movie, since there are only 3 girls – one dies early on and the other is the one seeing all the murders. Nice work.