Into the Dark 4: New Year, New You

Nothing stands between me and all of my desires.

Main Cast: Suki Waterhouse, Carly Chaikin

Director: Sophia Takal

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU is a phrase people like to use because it gives them a sense of beginning and change.  It’s January1st, time to be a better person.

For old friends Alexis, Kayla, and Chloe this means confronting their other friend Danielle, an Instagram celebrity on the cusp of worldwide stardom, about her role in the suicide of Kelsey, a girl they went to high school with.

Alexis (Suki Waterhouse, ASSASSINATION NATION) has carried the burden of Kelsey’s death for too long, the burden and the scars, one of them on her face, and she can’t stand what the guilt has done to her life. Seeing Danielle (Carly Chaikin, “Mr. Robot”), the one Alexis blames for bullying Kelsey into taking her own life, on the verge of such stardom, she can’t take it anymore and she arranges for the three of them to confront Danielle and make her admit, publicly, what she’s done.

But Danielle is nobody’s fool or tool.  A self-made millionaire, she’s going to use every self-help and motivational tool in her arsenal to survive.  In this case that means recruiting Chloe to her side with promises of stardom and even the chance to take over Danielle’s channel when her television show starts filming.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU is written and directed by Sophia Takal (BLACK CHRISTMAS 2019) and is a modern take on a classic story, using internet fame as the catalyst, but still relying on that old standby, high school bullying.  And while it’s not nearly as horror-driven as other anti-bullying stories–I’m looking at you, UNFRIENDED–the second half is full of tension and suspense.

Suki Waterhouse plays Alexis with a single-minded determination while Carly Chaikin gives Danielle that deep-seeded survivor mentality, something you don’t often see in antagonists.  Usually the bad guy is bad, but at the end of the day bullies don’t like to be bullied back.  Danielle however, she ain’t having it.  She did nothing wrong, and if Alexis or either of the others aren’t on her side (shrug), they’ll die and she won’t bat an eye.

Takal has created four very distinct and memorable characters, given them strong backstories, and let them play out in this scenario in a very realistic and satisfying way.  I mean, realistic as far as a horror movie is concerned.  In fact, the only thing about NEW YEAR, NEW YOU I didn’t buy at all was the setting.

I run into this often in horror movies and it usually throws me out of it. You’ve got a killer loose in the house and one or two residents trying to hide from said killer. But said killer is moving about the house, looking for the residents, while the residents are constantly moving about trying to hide from the killer.  And they NEVER run into each other. I have a pretty nice-sized house, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a library, a dining room, living room, etc.  If anyone broke into my house and was trying to find me, it wouldn’t take them long.  I mean, I could probably find a hiding spot or two, but if I moved from any of those places, I’d be spotted almost immediately, certainly too soon for me to get to a door and escape.  But a good chunk of the last half of this movie is spent with Danielle and Chloe looking for Alexis and Kayla and not being able to find them, while Alexis and Kayla are moving from room to room.  At one point, the power has gone out and Danielle and Chloe are in the kitchen.  Alexis closes a door upstairs–not gently, either–and no one heard it?  In the dead of night with no electricity humming through the house?

I don’t think so.

So that took me out of the movie for a second, but overall the rest of it was so well-done, the writing, directing and acting, that I was able to forgive it and move on. For the most part.

I thought the climax and ending were a bit lazy and predictable, but that doesn’t make them bad. They were fine, just not the climax or ending I was writing in my head as I watched the movie.

With varying quality, I’m still enjoying the INTO THE DARK series of movies, but if pressed I’d say NEW YEAR, NEW YOU is in my top two with FLESH AND BLOOD.  I would absolutely watch this one again and can happily recommend adding it to your INTO THE DARK watch list.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU is streaming on Hulu

More Into the Dark

The Body

Flesh and Blood


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