Muffy (Deborah Foreman) has invited a group of her college friends out for the weekend. She lives on an isolated island, with only a ferry to bring visitors back and forth. The group is varied; some of them know one another and others are total strangers. What they have in common is their friendship with Muffy, a cute, funny, and playful young lady, who initiates a series of practical jokes on all her friends. Only thing is, someone else might be on the island with them. Could it be Buffy, Muffy’s deranged sister? Next thing the group knows, in the midst of constant jokes, bodies start dropping and people start disappearing. It seems that someone is killing the members of the group, whittling them down until only a few are left (among them, Amy Steel of Friday the 13th Pt. 2 fame). Since the next ferry isn’t until the morning, the remaining members must find a way to survive the night and solve the mystery of who the killer really is. Can they make it, or will one last joke sink them all?
I saw this in the theaters when it came out and I remember liking it just fine, but feeling a bit underwhelmed. The twist ending, while clever, took the muscle out of the movie, I thought. I watched it again on VHS when that came out and felt much the same. Now, thirty something years later, I decided to revisit it, giving the movie another shot. And truthfully? I feel about the same today as I did then. The story is excellent, the acting is great, and the characters are fully-fleshed out, especially considering this is a slasher flick. Foreman is deliciously terrific as the prankster-in-chief, her wicked smile and glittering eyes doing most of the heavy lifting for her. Everyone else is good, too, and you really believe their plight. The filming itself is excellent, and the movie looks good. The shots carry the appropriate atmosphere and gravity. The killings themselves are mostly bloodless and after the fact. Back then, being a gorehound ready for some spilled blood, that disappointed me. It still does, to a certain extent, but I get the choice now. Of course, it makes more sense when you consider the ending.
How you feel about this film will revolve on how you feel about the ending. No spoilers here, but I found it clever; it made sense according to the story and the feel of the film. But again, it leaves the preceding hour and a half a bit empty. Still, this was a good movie and is well-worth your time, especially if you’ve never seen it before. Give it a shot; you might like it. Not in the upper-echelon of 80s slashers, but not in the toilet, either.