April Fools (2007)

SEPTEMBER 22, 2011

GENRE: SLASHER
SOURCE: STREAMING (NETFLIX INSTANT)

You know, I could beat up on Netflix a bit, since the transfer for April Fools was abysmal even by their standard – the damn thing kept switching in and out of anamorphic (and it would occur during shots so it wasn’t an issue with the camera or a stylistic choice). But they’ve had a tough week what with Qwikster and all, plus I doubt that even the best blu-ray transfer in the world would produce a quality presentation for this movie, which I am pretty sure has establishing shots that were filmed with the very first camera phone.

It’s also a terrible movie, but it’s so short (72 minutes, with lots of easily skippable padding) and lovingly stupid that I can’t really muster up the energy to go off on it. I mean, when the killer is revealed and the last girl asks him why he did it, his response is “Look at me! People call me ‘Poop’!” I mean, I don’t know about you, but any movie that contains this particular line at what should be a scary moment in the climax is sort of exempt from serious ridicule and critique. It’d be like berating an infant for not knowing how to drive.

Back to the length, it’s hilarious how they race through the plot in order to keep everything confined to the titular holiday. The plot is yet another “Bunch of friends kill an outcast in a prank gone wrong and then a year later someone seeks revenge” deal, most specifically like Slaughter High which also occurred on April Fool’s Day, but there’s no dilly dally. We go directly from the accidental death to one year later and our first revenge kill scene - none of that boring crap where we see how the tragedy has affected our core group.

In fact, they go through this so quickly that whenever we DO meet up with one of our accidental murderers, we get a black and white flashback to the murder so we can remember who they were, as if the filmmaker knew we’d already forget who was who because their “introduction” was so vague and brief. Some of them even get two such flashback sequences, all the better to pad the movie with. Also, at one point we are treated to not one but two complete hip-hop performances; the killer is walking around the club during the second one, which gives it SOME justification, but nothing happens at ALL during the first. Then we get a third during the credits. Well, BEFORE the credits – the video is shrunk down to the side of the frame as if it should have credits running alongside it, but they don’t actually start until the video is over. However, I suspect their title guy simply didn’t know what he was doing, as he actually leaves a “?” in for at least one crew position, and the “Special Thanks To:” section doesn’t actually have any names/businesses under it.

As for the kills, zzzzz. It’s obvious they didn’t even have a makeup guy at all, let alone a good one, so they’re pretty much off-screen or (not very convincingly) staged in a way that we are supposed to THINK we saw, say, a pipe of some sort sticking through a guy’s neck, even though we can plainly see he is nowhere near it when he falls. The action is very clumsy and over-the-top as well – I particularly liked how a guy very softly throwing a football at a guy’s butt from a few feet away somehow made him topple over. The killer’s look ain’t too bad for this sort of thing though; it’s a very basic, Urban Legend/I Know What You Did Last Summer type appearance, but it works – there’s even a pretty cool shot where he enters a door down the hallway from our fleeing heroine. For like 5-6 seconds it looks like a real slasher movie!

But man, the dialogue. For every “poop” type line there are a half dozen that are just plain terrible, or awkward. Our heroine’s father is a cop, and at one point his partner runs over while they are talking and says “We have to go!” The father says “OK”, the partner takes off, and then he turns back around to the girl, who says “Let me guess, you have to go.” Now, if he had taken a phone call or received a text, this response would make sense – but why would she have to “guess”? She was standing right there when the other guy said exactly that! That not a single person in the film can act – with the exception of Obba “Black Dynamite” Babatund√© as the cop - doesn’t help matters any.

The half-assed approach to dialogue results in some (presumably) unintentional humor though, such as when a couple of them very casually ponder if it’s a “coincidence” that one of their close friends was killed one year to the day that they accidentally murdered a guy. The idea that they’d even CONSIDER it to be merely coincidental is funny enough, but that they seemingly don’t even care that the girl is dead makes it hysterical. The two girls then discuss their plans for the evening, one of them busting out a rap for no discernible reason. Stop wasting time with these two! Get back to Poop!

The film was written, produced, and directed by Nancy Norman, a woman with a very slim and random IMDb page. This is her sole directing credit, but she also produced Love and a Bullet and played “Task Force Agent” in something called Random Acts Of Violence. But those are both from 2002, so in the past decade, her sole credited contribution to cinema is poorly directing her badly written 72 minute slasher movie where the killer is nicknamed Poop. I don’t want to be cruel, but perhaps she should explore other avenues. Unless this was some sort of experiment to see if an entire film could be shot in a day (it certainly seems that way – if any of this shit was a SECOND take I’d hate to see the first), in which case I commend her on almost pulling it off!

What say you?

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