FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Apr 29, 2008

oh my sides

You might not believe me, but it's true- I went into a viewing of the April Fool's Day remake last night with a completely open mind. From what I'd gathered, the film bears virtually no resemblance to the original (which we all know I adore), so why bother getting all wrapped up in comparisons? Better to just treat this for what it is: its own film. While most critics loathed it, at least one of my friends enjoyed it and saw something good in it; maybe I would, too. Hey, stranger things have happened- I ended up really digging House of Wax, which was an even bigger surprise than that time I was a soldier in the IRA and I totally befriended this dude I was holding hostage but things got really fucked and the dude died and I was all "Aw, man!" and so I went to find his girlfriend, and his girlfriend and I started dating each other and things were going swell but then I found out that she totally had a penis and I was all "Aw, man!"

I mean, uh...the time I saw that in a movie. Yes...a movie.

A bunch of super rich friends with super rich names like "Blaine Cartier" and "Barbie" and "Sir Caviar Wainscott Pennybottom III" are having a super rich coming out party for super rich Torrance (Scout Taylor-Compton) on super rich April Fool's Day. Desiree (Taylor Cole), the hostess with the mostess, is apparently a big fan of practical jokes and she's constantly pulling eeeevil pranks- so much so that they're as expected as they are irritating. I know this because a character said it, so it must be true regardless of the fact that we never see Desiree actually, you know, playing jokes on anybody.

Wait! I take that back! She put some blue stuff in someone's glass and then when that someone drank a toast, his mouth turned totally blue! Indeed it was a fiendish trick, so subtle in its execution and labyrinthine in its intricacies that it bore the true mark of a consummate professional prankster. It wasn't a joke that could have been pulled off by someone who simply spent a buck at Mario's Magic Shop, you know?

Anyway, Desiree totally hates Milan (Sabrina Aldridge) because...umm...because she...err, well, just because, I guess. See, relationships were never really established over the course of April Fool's Day; sure, the common denominator was that everyone was rich, but all the characters were of such varying ages and occupations that it made no sense for them all to be friends. But! No matter. Milan has been away for a time working with developmentally disabled kids or something, and Desiree wants to humiliate her something bad. Her big plan is to surreptitiously film her brother Blaine (Josh Henderson) and Milan having sex and then put it on the internet! Oh ho ho, what a devilish rib-tickler that is. Blaine agrees, someone roofies Milan's drink, Milan goes "Gak gak gak!", gets blurry (no, not blurry-eyed- she gets blurry), and pitches over a railing, falling to the floor below with a thud. Milan be dead, y'all.

Or be she?

One year later, everyone receives a note from "Milan" saying, in effect, I Know What You Did Last April Fool's Day. Then everyone except Desiree ends up dying.

Yes, those two brief sentences summarize the next hour or so of the movie, an hour which is so boring and bland and tensionless and stupid that two brief sentences is really all I can muster.

Is Milan actually dead? Why is Desiree the last one alive? Who killed all these super rich jerks? Are they really dead? Does the title April Fool's Day have anything to do with anything?

Yes, because, no one, no, doy.

The "kills", when they were shown were played for laughs. From the mincing "fag" flailing about in his pool as he "drowned" to the dude making Shemp-like "Woob woob woob" noises as he was run over by a van, I never felt anything during these sequences beyond a sort of world-weary resignation. I was never wrapped up in the "whodunit" and I never cared about anybody or anything- and that's not entirely because I knew to expect a twist.

I could see what the filmmakers were going for with April Fool's Day, and it wasn't horror- they were attempting, I think, some sort of clever mystery-comedy hybrid. "Attempting" and "executing" certainly aren't the same thing, however, and in the end April Fool's Day is like a week-old loaf of Value Brand white bread. It's dry, it's flavorless, it's boring, it's forgettable, it's cheap, and it's ultimately not good for you.

Oh well. At least I'll always have Deborah Foreman- she's some whole grain goodness, that one.


Chloe said...

haha The Crying Game is the shit!

Anonymous said...

What's Deborah Foreman been doing these days? I haven't seen her in anything since she did Waxwork (another one of my favorites). I know I could look her up on IMDB but I'm far too lazy.

I was surprised that I too liked House of Wax. And it wasn't just for the scene where Paris Hilton gets the pipe through her head.

Scratch one more remake off my list that I won't be seeing. Thanks for the heads-up.

Adam said...

Had Tom Wilson, aka Biff Tannen, made a cameo in this version, called someone a butthead then made like a tree and got outta' there, then maybe, just maybe it could have been redeemed.
Though someone going "whoop-whoop-whoop" Shemp style while getting run over by a van is fucking hilarious. It made me laugh out loud and look like a crazy person at work after I read it.

spazmo said...

Speaking of Biff, does anyone play "hide the salami" in this version?

Because a salami-less sequel on week-old Value Brand white bread just doesn't cut the mustard.

Unknown said...

Even the mere mention of AFD'08 sends me into a fury only matched by edward norton in AHX. I want to curb stomp this movie into oblivion.

I applaud you for not becoming as infuriated as I after viewing what I am voting as the worst remake of all time. (Yes, even worse than the fog '05)

Anonymous said...

This movie reminded me of: A) a bad, made-for-late-night-cable movie (you know the ones, the guide makes them sound all hot and racy and they turn out to be…not hot and racy) B) a hack, De Palma knock-off style thriller, complete with Pino Dinaggio-lite music queues. Plenty of cringe inducing dialogue though (“You’re a menace.” ‘A menace? You killed five people.’ “Those PEOPLE ruined my debut!”)…at least it didn’t totally throw the original into the mud, as it was nothing like it.
Chuck Wilson

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...

Stacie, I rented the remake, and couldn't make it through it. I watched it in FF mode and sent it right back to Netflix.

And Charles, I wrote a piece about what Deborah is doing here. She is teaching yoga.

FatalPierce said...

This reminds me that I'm still waiting on the original from Netflix, they really need to put a few more copies out there, stupid long waits...

Anonymous said...

At least this movie seems to have promptly slipped into oblivion; I have a feeling that only angry fans of the first one even know about this one. The remake I'm dreading the most is My Bloody Valentine, though. It's not Canadian, which was half of the charm of the first one, and it doesn't take place in Valentine bluffs. What's the point? I can't even type about it without getting upset. Why touch perfection?

PS, I work at a movie theater and I'm constantly informing ditzy tweens that there was, indeed, a Prom Night before this one. My favrorite exchange was the following, however:
Customer: Prom Night. Isn't that a remake of something?
Me: Yes, it's a remake of Prom Night.

Why can't everyone be as knowledgeable about retro slashers as us?

Anonymous said...

April Fool's Day sucked.

House of Wax sucked.

And the comedy was obviously inadvertent. I honestly think they were going for serious horror or thriller. It was "I Know what you did Last Summer" but with rich pricks.

Ah well, at least the chicks were hot.

Chris Cooke said...

Thanks for this review Stacie - I've been working from home a lot lately and occasionally find myself taking breaks, wandering over to my local dvd shop and wondering if I shouldn't watch this as some kind of distraction/break from tedious work (as if wandering and wondering wasn't break enough) but something always stops me renting it - that 'something' is the sneaking suspicion that it's probably utterly shite! Thanks for confirming my suspicion and saving me £3.90!

Chris Cooke said...

Mind you I rented Halloween Uncut (the remake)instead and what a terrible mistake that was - utterly boring and about 90 minutes too long. That whole opening section was so redundant and basically told people what they already knew in a really banal way - Michael was fucked up as a kid... the thing is he wasn't that fucked up as a child (like some Austrians might be right now), he was bullied at school (only by the school bully though) and some bloke his mum was shagging didn't speak nice to him... and his big sister was quite mean (mine was meaner)... so he kills cats and people and stuff but in a badly acted way before becoming some kind of giant. My only question at the end of this was whether it was appropriate for a psychiatric institute to give Michael so much papier-mache in his room instead of keeping it in class - after all, seeing as he was becoming increasingly disassociated and hiding behind masks, shouldn't they have encouraged a less 'hiding behind masks' hobby? Roller blading maybe?

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to remember the first April Fool's Day. Is that the super dark and kind of disgusting one about the uber nerd who gets acid spilled on his face in college and then goes completely apeshit, only to find out it was all a... but I won't ruin it. If that's true, then what in the fuck are they doing calling this new movie April Fool's Day? These remakes have gotten so pathetic, so mind-numbingly boring...

Stacie Ponder said...

Anonymous, the film you're thinking of is Slaughter High, I believe, which had April Fool's Day as a working title. This steaming pile is a 'remake' of the 1986 slasher starring Deborah Foreman and Amy Steel.

Slaughter High is awesome!

Felix, we obviously disagree on a few points.

Chris, I feel you on the Halloween remake- well said. Still, it's better than AFD. You'd be better off stapling the money to your face than using it to renting this.

Bonnie, your Prom Night story made me sad (well, after I laughed). Not because the original film is so wonderful that everyone should revere it, but because these kids are growing up thinking that this utter SHIT they're being subjected to is all horror has to offer. Hopefully some of them will be prompted to do a little research...

Anonymous said...

Stacie, I agree. I'm the nerd at the box office that's constantly telling people to see "the original" of whatever movie, then getting all sad when they didn't know there was an "original": Prom Night, The Hills Have Eyes, Black Christmas, The Hitcher, The Omen, and, most hertbreakingly, Halloween. Come on!

On a side note, Slaughter High is my favorite bad movie of all time and I am absolutely in love with it. I think "super dartk and kind of disgusting" is such a perfect way to describe that total mind fuck of a movie. There's a great review of it over at Stacie, you must review this sparkling turd of a film!

Chris Cooke said...

Stacie - as the cost of hire would be in the form of coins, stapling may have proved too difficult (I did try, over and over - oh the pain) - so I have duly stapled a five pound note to my face so as to avoid spending it on AFD.

Anonymous said...

Who here, as soon as Scout-Taylor Compton mentioned she was becoming an actress, had the movie completely mapped out in their heads from then on? Also, who names their kid "Torrance"?

What a waste of time for everyone involved.

Anonymous said...

"Felix, we obviously disagree on a few points."

I disagree. :-P

I really don't get why "House of Wax" is so enjoyed by many. It's such a nonsensical, tedious horror flick, filled with plot holes.

But hey, that's just me.

Corey said...

i must see this slaughter high of which you speak.

as for the AFD remake... i reviewed it on my site using just seven words. "this sucky movie is full of suck."

AndyDecker said...

Hi Stacie, love your blog.

I don´t get Hollywoods infatuation with remakes. Why spend one dollar for a remake of a movie like, say, Prom Night, which was shitty and boring as sin to begin with?

The only remake ever worth something was The Maltese Falcon with Bogart.

Tom said...

haha. Fucking hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Hi, nice blog, yours is the first I've read in length. Nice!