Fear Itself – New Year’s Day (07/17/08)

Helen wakes up on the titular New Years Day feeling a little woozy.  She manages to make it to the bathroom to pray to the porcelain god.  She hears sirens and a bullhorn warning, “This is not a drill.”  Clearly it is not a drill — it is a bullhorn, duh!  She goes to a neighbor’s apartment and finds blood on the floor.  Checking on her roommate, she finds his room covered in blood also.

finyd1In a scene I can’t figure out, Helen’s cellphone rings. When she answers, she gets her not-boyfriend James’ voice mail as if she called him . . . the end.  For me, anyway.  I did finish watching it, but couldn’t bring myself to make any notes.

I watched this episode stunned almost from the first second at how awful it is.  The performances from Helen and James are incredibly ordinary.  Anyone in the audience of a community theater could have brought more to their parts.  Helen’s roommate Eddie and her girlfriend Christie come off a little better.

The real problem is the visual experience.  The lighting is terrible and the editing is god-awful with constant jump-cuts.  On a completely different level, the choppiness of the narrative also dooms the episode.  We are constantly switching between New Years Eve and New Years Day.  The whole episode is just offensively poorly conceived.

finyd6Along the way we are supposed to care about these adults.  Helen tells James she loves him after misinterpreting something their friend Eddie told her.  Eddie has an unrequited crush on Helen and expresses it with sudden awkward kisses.  Helen is heart-broken to see James swapping spit with Christie.  If the twist of this episode was that these were 13 year-olds who were somehow transported into adult bodies, I would have believed it.

Happily, that was not the twist.  The sole redeeming aspect of this episode is an excellent reveal that caught me completely by surprise.  If anyone is masochistic enough to sit through this episode, they deserve to be surprised.  There is another shocker after that, but spatially it makes no sense, and it adds nothing to the story.

I rate New Years Day 1 out of 365.


  • Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman of Saw II – IV.
  • Briana Evigan (Helen) was in Burning Bright which I remember as being pretty good.  She is locked in a house.  That is boarded up, preventing escape.  A hurricane is coming.  She has her autistic brother with her.   And, oh yeah, there’s a goddamn tiger in the house!  Best set-up evah — but sadly all I remember is she wore a hot wife-beater for the whole movie.
  • Her father Greg was in a series in the 1970’s about a trucker who traveled with a chimp named Bear.  Them Eviganses loves animals more than the Irwinses!  Well, before.

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