Director – Norman J. Warren (Prey, Satan’s Slave)
Starring – Suzy Aitchison (Midsomer Murders, Mr. Bean), Nikki Brooks (The Fear, Inspector Morse), and Daniel James (The Machine Gunners, Last Tango in Halifax)
Release Date – 1987
Rating – 2/5
Blu Release – 3/5
Tagline – “The last day of the year…of the last day of your life?”
Many years ago I was with a friend of mine and we were doing some movie hunting. We had stopped at several video stores going out of business along with some pawn shops and normal big box stores. When we were done we both had several boxes full of DVDs and VHS. As we were going through our spoils he showed me a copy of Bloody New Year he had picked up at the pawn shop we were at.
Upon closer inspecting it was clear it was a bootleg but for the price we couldn’t complain. This was one I had never seen before and we made plans to check it out but never got around to it. Several years later and the fine folks over at Vinegar Syndrome has released the 1987 Norman J. Warren film on blu. I reached out to them and was lucky enough to get a copy for review. Thank you Vin Syn for hooking me up with a copy for review.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows five teenager who flee from a madman and take to the seas for a good time away from him. They find themselves taking on water and make it to an isolated island with a hotel near the beach. The soon discover that the island is seemingly abandoned and is decorated for Christmas with New Years approaching. Soon they get the impression that the island is haunted but they soon discover the real reason the hotel is vacant and that they are not along on the island.**Spoiler Alert**
Bloody New Year is a movie I about for some time but never got around to seeing. I always thought this was your typical holiday slasher but I was way off on that one. Bloody New Year is one that is difficult to label but slasher is not it.
The acting in this one is what you would expect from a low budget horror flick from the late 80s. The direct to video market was taking off so many companies were rushing to make as much content as possible. Quantity over quality. They tossed together any story they could get with any cast and in this case the cast just does not seem to care. The characters are painfully generic and bland which does not mix well with the lukewarm performances from most of the cast. I did enjoy the crazy homeless looking man that terrorizes them. He is one of the only supporting cast members to give it their all.
The story for this one mixes a little sci-fi with some supernatural elements and wraps it in the slasher atmosphere. Honestly, the concept for this film is fucking brilliant and done correctly could be something I would really be behind. However, this story was not properly approached and feels choppy. As soon as the viewer finds themselves getting sucked in something else is added in such a way that the viewer has a hard time accepting.
Finally, this one has some blood but nothing to write home about. The practical effects are decent enough but the make-effects are pretty rough to look at. In fact, I remember rolling my eyes a few times throughout the film at the make-up effects. The deaths are nothing imaginative and are rather lackluster but feel right at home with most slashers of this time. Overall, Bloody New Year is not the film I was expecting. I’m all for cheesy 80s cinema but this one just felt like a rushed mess from start to finish. As an avid Vin Syn fan I’m stoked to have it in my collection but I doubt I’ll be knocking the dust off this one anytime soon. The blu looks great and fans of this one will want to check out the restored edition. Check it out now on blu from Vinegar Syndrome.
Region Free Blu-ray/DVD combo
Newly scanned & restored in 2k from 35mm archival elements
Commentary track with director Norman J. Warren
Reversible cover artwork
English SDH subtitles
*Note – Still are from trailer and not blu release