Movie Review: Into the Dark’s NEW YEAR, NEW YOU (2018)

The messages start rolling in as soon as December begins and the clock starts ticking in anticipation for the upcoming New Year. With a new year comes a new chance to start things fresh. Or to start working towards the things we desire. The phrase that often gets floated around this time of year is ‘New Year, New You’. And that is exactly what Hulu and Blumhouse seeks to explore in the horror anthology series INTO THE DARK’s New Year’s themed episode aptly titled NEW YEAR, NEW YOU.

This episode centers around a group of millennials, who I would describe as being close friends in high school, but have since gone the way that some high school friendships do and move on into frenemy territory. What starts off as a general girls’ night out where the women catch up and reminiscence over old memories quickly turns into something far more sinister as insecurities, egos, and secrets rise to the surface.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU starts off rather ominously, where we see rippling water that almost appears to be moving until we pull back to focus on foliage. It isn’t until we see a body floating in water that we truly understand that something is off before cutting to a jarring, self-care Youtube Influencer-style video. This is where we meet Danielle, played eerily well by Mr. Robot’s Carly Chaikin, showcasing her health products. She’s sweet. She’s personable and she is what everyone wants to become when they grow up.

This brief introduction sets up the audience’s knowledge of the character before cutting to our leading character, Alexis. Danielle is leading the life that Alexis, played by Assassination Nation’s Suki Waterhouse, has always worked toward and it becomes apparent before things escalate later on that she had a very bright future. However, an accident disfigured her face, ruining any chance of her being successful since a woman’s entertainment career is so tied to appearance. Despite her envy towards Danielle, Alexis invites Danielle to a NYE party along with her other two friends from high school, Chloe (Melissa Bergland) and Kayla (Kirby Howell-Baptiste). As soon as all parties arrive, that is when this film really starts livening up.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU is very much a slow build. However, once the shit really starts hitting the fan, the audience will be left wondering who in this slasher flick is going to end up coming on top. Generally, slasher flicks are fairly predictable in terms of who is going to be offed off first. However, thanks in part due to the writing by Adam Gaines and Sophia Takal, I was left guessing until the very end. However, I do wish that there weren’t super obvious hints to potential weapons of choice that were going to be used towards the second half of the film. Not being familiar with Takal’s work, I felt that the zooming in on weapons took away the unpredictability that comes with the guessing game that slasher films bring. You guys may know what I mean when I say this.

As the gal who tries to keep things spoiler-free, I will refrain from diving further into the actual plot. However, I will say that this episode definitely peels back the layers of how watching others live their lives publicly social media has an impact on our own self worth and psyche. On the surface, we may not seem to truly register how that constant stimuli on social media creates a certain kind of head space. However, one of the messages I got from watching NEW YEAR, NEW YEAR was how watching influencers live the lives we desire can end up stunting our growth and unknowingly cultivating uglier parts of ourselves. Please do let me know if any of you agree or disagree with me with regards to this message after you see this episode. I’m curious to know your thoughts.

Overall, NEW YEAR, NEW YOU is a decent slasher flick that tackles the cliches that the New Year can bring with it and successfully turns those cliches over on their respective heads. Unlike with the previous episode POOKA!, I felt that NEW YEAR, NEW YOU was a bit more predictable and easier to follow, but a bit heavy handed in providing hints to the audience as to what was coming next. All in all, I think the episodic film will teach many of us what happens when we allow bitterness, envy, and egotism rule our lives. And that’s not the new you that you want to latch onto.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU launches exclusively on Hulu’s service on December 28th! Just in time for NYE!


Sarah Musnicky
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