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Film / April Showers

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April Showers is a 2009 film loosely based on the Columbine massacre, written and directed by one of the survivors.

After a school shooting leaves 14 people dead, survivor Sean Ryan is forced to come to terms with loss.

Provides examples of:

  • Anachronic Order: The film begins In Medias Res, and then goes on to show How We Got Here and the aftermath in roughly chronological order, with a large number of flashbacks throughout.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Jason commits suicide in the bathtub.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Sean cannot seem to tell April he loves her.
  • Dedication: "In loving memory of those we lost" followed by a long list of people who died in school shootings (including perpetrators), and ending with "And those who survived."
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Some shots use this to look like security camera footage, evoking Columbine footage.
  • Dramatic Irony: In a flashback, April tells Sean "It's not going to be the same without you", referring to his upcoming graduation. By this point, the audience knows that April is going to die whereas Sean will survive.
  • Driven to Suicide: Jason is unable to cope with his Survivor Guilt, and kills himself.
  • Empathic Environment: When Sean finds out April died in the school shooting, the next scene shows that it has started raining.
  • Evil Stole My Faith: Sean questions what kind of God would let something like this happen.
  • Flashback: Several, especially concerning Sean and April's relationship.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Fourteen people (including the shooter) are killed during the school massacre, but only one of them is shot onscreen.
  • Heroic BSoD: Jason suffers one in a grocery shop, hallucinating a staring crowd holding copies of the magazine cover with the picture of him carrying the dead girl out of the school.
  • How We Got Here: The film begins with Sean learning who committed the shooting, and then flashes back to show the events leading up to that point.
  • If It Bleeds, It Leads: The news media are all over the place in the immediate aftermath of the school shooting (they show up at an area where the injured are being treated and loaded onto ambulances moments after some of the students who just escaped the school do). One reporter asks his cameraman "Did you get it?" with a smile, referring to a wounded student lying on the ground surrounded by friends.
  • In Medias Res: The film begins during the immediate aftermath of the shooting, when Sean learns of the shooter's identity.
  • The Lost Lenore: April for Sean. Especially because he never told her he loved her.
  • Meet Cute: April and Sean first meet during the theater group's initiation ceremony.
  • Moment of Silence: When Sean learns of April's death.
  • Murder-Suicide: The school shooter kills thirteen others and then himself.
  • Onscreen Chapter Titles: "Monday", "Tuesday", and so on.
  • Parting-Words Regret: A variation. As he lies dying, Mr. Blackwell regrets forgetting to say "I love you." to his wife on the morning of the shooting.
  • Proscenium Reveal: A scene where Sean says "I love you" to April is interrupted by him yelling "Cut!", revealing it to be a part of their stageplay.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Sean smashes a bathroom mirror after he has a flashback to being unable to tell April he loves her. He has a bandage on his hand for the rest of the movie.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Jason bails on an interview when he realises that the TV network cares more about getting a good story than helping him find out who the dead girl he carried out of the school was.
  • Strawman News Media: TV executive Helen Mann is shown to manipulate Jason (who has just survived a school shooting and seems to be developing PTSD) in service of getting a good story of a "hero".
  • Survivor Guilt: The survivors of the school shooting are hit by this, none worse than Jason.
  • There Are No Therapists: One might expect there to be some kind of crisis counselling immediately following a school shooting, but there is not. It would definitely have been needed, as Jason displays very clear signs of PTSD.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Jason has one of these on his face a lot of the time after the school shooting.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Inspired by the Columbine school shooting, of which the writer-director was a survivor.