1986 - 89m.
With the success of the Friday the 13th series under his belt, producer Frank Mancuso, Jr. convinced Paramount Pictures to fund another horror flick based on a calendar date bringing along When a Stranger Calls director Fred Walton and a script by Danilo Bach that takes its inspiration from Agatha Christie's classic tale, "Ten Little Indians". And as a then eleven-year-old youngster just getting into horror flicks and seeing the poster promising all sorts of twenty-something kids being killed, I was there - too bad the joke's pretty much on the audience in regards to expectations and entertainment.
The set-up here is about as standard as slasher movies tend to get as rich girl Muffy St. Clair (Deborah Foreman) invites a whole slew of her friends and colleagues for a weekend away at her parent's island home. It's meant to be a celebration weekend of their last year in college and it serves to gather together all the typical clichés you'd expect including the rebel type, the comic relief guy, the overweight guy, the slutty girl, and various other characters you've seen before.
On the way there one of the ferry crew has an accident that mangles him, forcing any way for the group to get back to the mainland to pretty much be shut down. Which is just handy as people start to disappear, seemingly the victim of a psycho killer, while Kit (Amy Steel) is tossed into the heroine role trying to piece together all the vague newspaper clippings scattered throughout the home, and attempting to stay alive. This all leads to a twist of a finale which, while nothing special, is at least something to lull us out of our bored state.
To call April Fool's Day tiresome would be an understatement. It takes forever to actually get going forcing us to put up with characters that just aren't that interesting before the kills start up. Oh yes, the kills. Let us talk about disappointment. Seeing as the makers of the Friday movies were behind this, you'd be apt to expect all sorts of over-the-top bloodshed, but what do we get instead? Nothing. All of the kills here are off-screen (it makes sense eventually, but is still a piss off) and one girl just shows up dead without any explanation. They've even cribbed from the second Friday movie during a scene where one victim is hanging upside down from a foot trap.
In the main role, Foreman (My Chauffeur, Valley Girl) is given the task of playing someone who is so obviously nutty. Bach's script makes this quite clear, even if all his characters don't seem to clue in or even care. Meanwhile, Steel goes through the motions of the "final girl" just like she did in Friday part 2 - only she's not nearly as impressive because, let's be honest here, the finish is bit of a cop-out and she doesn't get to kill Jason. Other than that, Clayton Rohner (Just One of the Guys) plays lame comic relief as punker-type Chaz and I completely forgot Thomas F. Wilson ("Biff" in the Back to the Future movies) was in this. The rest of the cast isn't bad; they're just going through the motions.
Apart from a few other Made-for-TV movies, and being credited with the story for Beverly Hills Cop, this is the only flick credited to Bach. Walton would continue to make lackluster thrillers over the years, mostly for cable television, and would never match his debut effort (the aforementioned When a Stranger Calls). As for, Mancusco, he's still active producing and would have a hand in the Friday movies until part eight before bringing us the Species series, Body Parts, and the Ralph Bakshi stinker Cool World.
It's very difficult to recommend this one. I was constantly bored during it and felt indifferent the entire time. Sure, it might be worth a look for slasher completists just to see a mild attempt to break out of the sub-genre's mold, but that's the only reason to bother wasting 89 minutes. And to think, this was loosely remade in 2008 - which sounds more like an I Know What You Did Last Summer knock-off than an actual re-do. (Chris Hartley, 8/29/12)
Directed By: Fred Walton.
Written By: Danilo Bach.
Starring: Deborah Foreman, Amy Steel, Jay Baker, Clayton Rohner.