April Fools' Day (The Butcher Brothers, 2008)
The second straight-to-video-supposed-"remake" I've seen this year that looks absolutely nothing like the movie that spawned it, but where the Day of the Dead flick was actually a great deal of fun, April Fool's Day was a tiresome examination of how different the rich are-- kind of like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, but without such niceties that film sported as talent and wit.
The Butcher Brothers' (The Hamiltons) third feature together opens on April Fools' Day 2007, at a coming out party for Torrance Caldwell (the beautiful and suddenly-ubiquitous Scout Taylor-Compton), hosted by the First Family of Atlanta money, the Cartiers. Desiree (Summerland's Taylor Cole) and her brother Blaine (Josh Henderson, recently seen on Desperate Housewives) have actually staged the coming out party as the basis of an elaborate prank on their former friend Milan Hastings (Whittaker Bay's Sabrina Aldridge), who has turned her back on the life of the idle rich and thrown herself into charitable causes). The prank goes horribly wrong, and Hastings ends up dead. Fast forward to a year later, and most of the circle of friends involved in the prank have all been summoned to Hastings' grave by mysteriously-delivered invitations. When they arrive, a package is delivered containing a laptop showing footage of the death of one of those absent. Assuming it was he who played the trick, they head over to his house and instead find him quite dead. From there, the flick develops into a bland, uninspiring slasher film. Aside, of course, from the big twist, which will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who saw the original--it's the only thing the two movies have in common. (It will also come as no surprise to anyone who, you know, read the title of the movie before seeing it.)
I've seen far too many movies this year that have made me want that portion of my life back, and the ninety-one minutes I spent watching this movie can now be added to the tally. The script was loosely adapted from Danilo Bach's original screenplay by the Butcher Brothers themselves and first-time writer Mikey Wigart, and it's hard to know who to pin the blame on here (save Bach, whose original screenplay had all the humor, suspense, and fun that this one lacks). It seems to want to skewer the culture of the filthy rich, but I get the feeling that the Butcher Brothers, nee Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores, come from this type of background themselves; the characters are far too content to wallow in their shallowness for this to be an effective parody.
Well worth avoiding. I'd have bumped it up half a star for Taylor-Compton, but her overacting in the climactic scene is just painful to watch. (She's good for the rest of the movie, though.) *