Continuing with our coverage of New Year’s-inspired horror films, the next film we at Horror Facts watched was the 1987 British supernatural film Bloody New Year.
Bloody New Year’s official synopsis: A group of friends takes refuge in an island hotel that is decorated for New Year’s. The problem is, it’s early summer, and soon enough, even the walls themselves will be striking out against them.
Bloody New Year follows a group of teenagers who, while attending a fair, rescue an American tourist and, in the process, anger a trio of carnival workers.
After making their escape, they decide to take a boat out to sea, where they inadvertently hit some rocks, causing their boat to sink. Having to abandon the ship, the group of teens is forced to seek refuge on a nearby island.
Finding a hotel on the island, the group goes inside, where they discover the hotel is filled with Christmas decorations, despite the fact that it’s summer.
As they look around the hotel, strange things start to happen, like seeing figures appear one minute and then disappear the next.
After discovering an empty theater in the hotel, one of the members is killed by a figure that bursts through the screen.
Following the death of their friend, the rest of the members of the group split up and began to experience even more supernatural occurrences, including hearing disembodied laughter and witnessing it snowing indoors.
When one of the members of the carnival trio shows up on the island, another one of their friends is killed, causing them to immediately turn into a zombie-like monster.
The group must run for their lives and end up back at the hotel, where they encounter the remaining two members of the trio, just as the zombified version of their friend reappears.
After managing to fight off their attackers, the group decides they need to find a way off the island. While two of the surviving members go in search of the boat the trio used to get to the island, the remaining members stay behind in the hotel.
From here, Bloody New Year involves exploding pilots, more people turning into zombies, an elevator that absorbs someone into its walls, and a kitchen that comes to life—it’s safe to say at this point in the movie, nothing makes much sense.
The movie then tries to explain itself by revealing that in 1959, an experimental plane carrying a device that could shatter time itself crashed on the island during a New Year’s Eve party, causing those on the island to be stuck in a time warp that they can never escape.
Soon plagued by the resurrected version of everyone who has died on the island, the last surviving members make their final attempt to escape the island or be stuck on it forever. But will the island ever allow them to leave?
Bloody New Year feels like somebody watched The Shinning, The Beyond, and The Evil Dead and decided to attempt to combine elements from all three films but completely missed what made those films iconic. You have a haunted hotel that’s plagued with supernatural occurrences because the land is cursed, and it results in all your friends returning from the dead as zombie-like beings.
The film starts simple enough, after the group of friends arrives, they begin to catch glimpses of the damned souls trapped forever inside the hotel, souls that have every intention of adding the teens to their ranks.
But just when you think the movie is about ghosts, someone gets turned into a zombie. Where the hell did that come from? Up until this moment, did you have any idea that the movie was about zombies?
Then the film decides to throw in the idea that the hotel itself is alive, having the staircase, kitchen, and even elevator come to life, all of which make no sense, especially since the film is about being trapped in a time warp. How does this result in the furniture coming to life?
This movie makes little to no sense and asks its audience to suspend a great level of disbelief when watching it. It attempts to explain that a plane carrying an experimental device that would allow it to “disappear” for a few moments crash-landed on the island, and now, because of it, everyone on the island is stuck in time.
If Bloody New Year is supposed to be about a hotel trapped in a time loop, shouldn’t the film be more of a horror version of Groundhog Day? Instead, you get a movie about a haunted hotel that we had to stop watching multiple times and ask ourselves what was happening.
All this lack of a cohesive plot might have something to do with the fact that in one interview, the film’s director, Norman J. Warren, stated that “The film lacks in every department, and by the end of it, my heart just wasn’t in it.“
If you intend on watching a New Year’s inspired horror film to celebrate the holiday this year, don’t let it be Bloody New Year. From the confusing plot to the slow pace to the unlikeable characters, there is not much going for this film.
If you want to watch it to experience it for yourself, the film is currently available on Tubi, but take our advice and watch something else this New Year.
I have come here to chew bubblegum and write horror, and I’m all out of bubblegum.
Senior Editor at Horror Facts