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New Year's Evil (1980)

  Tags: 80's, 80's Slashers, Chris Wallace, Emmett Alston, Grant Cramer, hidden gem, Jed Mills, Kip Niven, Louisa Moritz, new year's evil, Roz Kelly, Taaffe O'Connell, underrated

Your rating: None Average: 5.5 (4 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
6

newyearsevil.jpg
Rating #: 
6/10
Director: 
Emmett Alston
Runtime: 
90 minutes
Cast: 
Roz Kelly, Kip Niven, Chris Wallace, Grant Cramer, Louisa Moritz, Jed Mills, Taaffe O'Connell


I love it when I watch a flick and discover that it's a lot better than I expected. Such is the case with New Year's Evil, a film that I remember passing up at the VHS rack many times growing up. I always assumed that I had already seen it before, so I never rented it. I finally got my hands on the movie recently and to my surprise, it turned out to be a pretty decent slasher. I'd even go as far as calling it a "hidden gem" of sorts.

The story isn't your common tale (much like the rest of the film) which revolves around a new year's eve bash at a hotel, hosted by a popular frizzy-haired female punk idol. They're doing a special radio broadcast, counting down to the new year in all the territories. Listeners are able to phone in song requests, but one particular caller had something else in mind. The altered voice on the other end of the phone claims that he'll kill someone close to the host at the stroke of midnight for each of the four time zones. Naturally the woman alerts the police, but they think of it is a simple prank call. That is, until the body of a nurse turns up a mental ward.

I found this to be a somewhat unique slasher considering the decade it spawned from. Instead of following your typical masked assailant, the killer in this movie shows his face early on, giving him more of a personality. In fact, the killer is more of a lead than the female host since we follow him more than any other character. We watch as he attempts to race against the clock to find his next victim and murder them as the clock hits 12. Another interesting aspect the movie offered is a flawed human side of the killer. He's not your standard ultra-strong and mysteriously fast murderer that happens to know exactly where all his victims are and how to strike. In this movie the guy makes mistakes and things don't always go as planned.

Some aspects of the film seemed oddly familiar to real-life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, as they are both men who lured their victims with their charm and looks, and both made a similar mistake that got them caught (or almost caught). There’s a small sub-plot involving the disconnected son with a “mother complex” that didn’t really go anywhere until more of the story was revealed towards the end, but even then I didn’t really care for it. There isn't a whole lot of gore or blood for that matter, but what it lacks in that department is made up more-so with its story and this very human killer.

The only problem I had with the movie had to be some of the plot-holes, especially as it was nearing the climax. When the truth behind certain characters and the reasoning behind the murders was revealed it seemed a little questionable and sloppy, to me anyway. It didn't harm the movie too much as to say it was too distracting or necessarily bad, which is why I decided that a 6-rating was best fitted for it.

This is an unconventional 80's slasher that offers an interesting story and follows a very flawed human killer. The deaths aren't particularly gory, but that didn't really matter since the story and pacing was kept strong. This hidden gem is worth a check, especially for fans of the slasher sub-genre.

Posted on October 22, 2009 - 11:28pm | FrighT MasteR

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