Year:  2022

Director:  Ruben Rodriguez

Release:  December 9, 2022

Distributor: Terror Films

Running time: 90 minutes

Worth: $13.00
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Katarina Hughes, Amy Rutledge, Stephanie Domini, Travis Peters, Adam Lowder, Lucio Gernandez

… creepy enough to get uncomfortably under the flesh and showcases a director willing to play around with the tropes of the genre.

Made way back in 2013, found footage horror The Death of April finally gets a home release. Directed by Ruben Rodriquez, whose filmography suggests that he never actually sleeps, the film follows twenty-something Meagan (Katarina Hughes), stepping out into the big wide world and possibly regretting the decision.

The Death of April is set up as a documentary focused on the disappearance of the aforementioned Meagan. Having moved into her new apartment thousands of miles away from her family, she stays in contact with loved ones via webcam messages. These videos make up the bulk of the ‘documentary’, punctuated by interviews with Meagan’s friends and family.

To her family’s distress, Meagan’s mental health begins to decline soon after moving in. Complaining of things going bump in the night and objects moving of their own accord, Meagan thinks it’s all related to the death of the apartment’s previous tenant, April.

Clearly filmed on the fumes of a low budget, Rodriquez does the best with what he has. With a largely talented cast and naturalistic dialogue, The Death of April manages to make its presence known in a market that has been saturated since The Blair Witch Project made everyone scared of standing in the corner back in 1999.

Yes, at times, you’ll likely be able to work out how Meagan’s wine glass was able to move ‘unaided’, but Hughes is so utterly charming and believable, you’ll fear for her and her rent deposit anyway. Which is more than can be said for those within her world, who see her general panic and disorientation as being symptoms of attention seeking. It makes you wish there were an in-universe support group for those who are left to fend for themselves from haunted houses.

Given its original production occurred around the same time as Paranormal Activity 3, it’s unsurprising that there are moments that more than tip their hat to the franchise. However, dig a little deeper and there’s enough here to remind the audience of Joel Anderson’s criminally underappreciated Aussie ghost story Lake Mungo and the more recent Death of a Vlogger.

By using the documentary format onto which he can hang his scary shenanigans, Rodriquez frees himself from the restrictions of a singular point of view. The talking heads add new layers to Meagan’s story, fleshing her out as a sister, daughter and friend, and more than someone who screams ‘what was that?’ about something off camera.

It’s a shame then, like many of its type, The Death of April doesn’t quite stick its landing. Seemingly building to something greater than its parts, Meagan’s investigation is wrapped in a flurry of infodumping and blood. Those looking for concrete answers to what preceded the finale are going to be disappointed. However, that said, The Death of April is creepy enough to get uncomfortably under the flesh and showcases a director willing to play around with the tropes of the genre.