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THE DEATH OF APRIL (2013)
Published by David Carter on 2015/12/13 (451 reads)
Directed by Ruben Rodriguez
Review by David Carter
Released by MVD Visual
Running Time: 86 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Stereo English
Region Code: 0, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: None
Trailer Online: Yes
Ten or fifteen years ago, television was completely bereft of horror. Sure, you’d have an occasional Stephen King adaptation or gory episode of the X-Files, but by and large horror was confined to the silver screen. A lot has changed. Television is now one of the primary sources of horror-themed entertainment and a large portion of it comes in the form of reality TV or docudramas. There are countless programs dedicated to monster or ghost hunting, and an equal number concerning the human effects of haunting and paranormal encounters.
Taking a cue from that latter group is Ruben Rodriquez’s THE DEATH OF APRIL, now available from MVD Visual. APRIL utilizes the found-footage technique in a manner not seen in most recent horror releases. Harkening back to the technique seen in the pre-BLAIR WITCH shocker THE LAST BROADCAST, APRIL mimics the format of true crime or paranormal TV documentaries and primarily consists of archival footage and interviews. The format is employed well, and the viewers’ familiarity with it makes the film easier to engage with than it would have been otherwise.
THE DEATH OF APRIL isn’t about April, it’s about Meagan Mullen. California girl Meagan has moved to the east coast to spread her wings as an adult. She quickly finds a teaching job and a nice townhouse to rent and begins sending her parents video diaries as a way to stay in touch. These diaries slowly progress from happy and upbeat to paranoid and frightened as Meagan comes to believe that her home is haunted. She learns that the previous resident – the titular April – died brutally and mysteriously, and takes this as confirmation that her suspicions are correct. She becomes increasingly obsessed with April’s death and its relationship to what has been happening to her, which culminates in something unthinkable happening.
THE DEATH OF APRIL is paced well and will hold your attention throughout. Again, the familiarity of the format plays a big part in this, as the similarities to TV paranormal docudramas add a degree of watchability that would be lacking if it used a traditional narrative style. Katarina Hughes deserves a lot of credit for the film’s success as she is highly authentic and relatable and makes it seem like Meagan is a real person, adding another layer of terror to the film. While it doesn’t offer much in the way of gore or jump scares, APRIL does a great job of setting the mood and becoming increasingly tense as it progresses. Overall, THE DEATH OF APRIL is an entertaining and well-acted film with a familiar plot made more interesting via the format.
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