New Year's Evil (1980)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
Genres: Horror, Slasher Film
During a New Year's Eve celebration, a Los Angeles disc jockey receives a phone call saying that when New Year's strikes in each time zone, someone will be murdered - and she will be the last one. --IMDb
Emmett Alston Emmett Alston
Roz Kelly Roz Kelly
Kip Niven Kip Niven
Chris Wallace Chris Wallace
Grant Cramer Grant Cramer
Louisa Moritz Louisa Moritz

4.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: December 31, 2011
2011 will be gone in about two hours and we'll be ringing in the new year, and did I choose to stay up late and watch a silly ball drop on television? Of course not: I decided to pop in a shitty slasher flick from the eighties and write up the review for you fine folks. Honestly, I had never heard of this one prior to digging around for New Years-themed movies, so I really had no idea what I was in for. I saw this as a good and a bad thing: good because I could go in with fresh eyes, bad because... well, I'm a huge slasher fan, and if I haven't heard of something, there's usually a reason for that. Still, I popped it in and hoped for the best.

We begin by getting introduced to Diane "Blaze" Sullivan (Roz Kelly), the host of a television rock show catering to fans of new wave and punk music. She's throwing a grand party for her New Year's Eve show, with plenty of bands, loads of partying fans in the audience, and even phones that allow her fans at home to call in. One of the "fans" that calls in turns out to be a serial killer (Kip Niven), and he breaks it down for our heroine: when the clock strikes midnight and the new year is upon us, he will murder somebody. Then, when it strikes midnight in the next time zone, he'll kill someone again. When it strikes midnight in Blaze's neck of the woods... well, she'd better watch out.

The first half of the movie sucks, to be frank about it. It is nothing more than a setup to introduce us to Blaze and show us who she is, which is a needed element of the film, but it doesn't need to take up half of the running time. This time is spent watching various bands play (I didn't recognize any of them as popular bands), watching her fans dance around like idiots, and listening to her host the show and bitch at her staff and son. This first act is absolutely dreadful unless you're into this kind of music (I'm not) and enjoy watching people dance as though they were being electrocuted (I don't).

Finally, things start to get exciting when the killer begins his murder spree, but by exciting, I mean "better than the previous shit." This is an extremely tame slasher movie with only three or four kills, and each of those kills are very mundane: a quick stab with minimal blood, suffocation with a plastic bag, that sort of thing. There is a tease of a neat kill where a woman is chained to the bottom of an elevator while it rises to the top floor of the building, but she is saved in the nick of time and there is no pay-off to what could have been the highlight of the film.

The only real saving grace of the film is the fact that Roz Kelly is pretty good as the leading lady, and Kip Niven is amazing as the serial killer. Niven is able to go back and forth between "charming" and "psychotic" with ease throughout the film, and he is very convincing at both sides of the character. Even though he was pretty basic as a serial killer, he made the character entertaining to watch. There was also an interesting twist towards the end of the movie which bumped the tension and my enjoyment up a bit, but I'm not going to spoil that here.

However, even though I did give it a bit of praise, New Year's Evil isn't a very good way to ring in the new year. It takes much too long to get started, and once the story does get rolling along, it's much too tame to really get invested in: it's not a very good horror movie, but at the same time, you're not really getting any entertainment out of just watching people die in creative ways either. There's some good acting and a great twist, but that is not enough to warrant a recommendation. 4/10.
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