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Behind the Scenes stills

 

J. LaRose, Darren Lynn Bousman

Zombie J. LaRose is reunited with his SAW director Darren Lynn Bousman.

 

Fear Itself, New Year's Day, crowd shot

The crew gather for a street shot.

 

Darren Lynn Bousman, zombie

Darren Lynn Bousman and zombie friend.

Briana Evigan

A candid shot of Briana on set in make-up.

Photos 1-3 © Bloody Disgusting.com. Photo 4 © Chris Large/NBC. To read a report about the making of New Year’s Day on Bloody Disgusting click here and to read an interview with Darren Lynn Bousman on the New York Post site, click here.

 

New Year’s Day Quotes

 

‘This week’s episode is the first one that really captures the feel of a full-blown feature film for a television audience. A great deal of that success comes from the stark cinematography (courtesy of John Spooner) and the jump-cut editing (by Marshall Harvey). But, as both Spooner and Harvey have prior Fear Itself credentials ( Family Man and Eater respectively) the onus for the episode’s ultimate feel must be placed on Bousman. In fact, New Year’s Day contains all the gritty, grimy, desaturated lighting and whip-pans that you’d expect to see from the man who helmed most of the SAW franchise.’

(Bloody Disgusting.com)

 

‘ New Year’s Day has a dark griminess to it that comes as a nice contract to the slick hyper-gloss of previous FearItself instalments. It had that damp, dirty feeling that you get from the SAW movies... Having Steve Niles cook up another story involving the undead at war with human relationships was also a plus. Anyone who knows his work, surely can vouch for the fact that he won’t hesitate to have someone regrettably hack up a loved one after they’ve turned into a soulless minion of the undead…Or a Republican.’

(Matt Fowler of IGN.com)

 

‘The pre-credits sequence is a knockout, joining Helen (Briana Evigan) as she wakes up at 4:32 in the morning after an apparent long night of heavy partying. Hung over and disoriented, she soon discovers that she’s got much worse to deal with than a headache: The power is out, chaos reigns in the streets outside and, as the story continues, she finds that a chemical-plant explosion has turned many of the public in general – and her friends in particular – into flesh eating killers… Scripted by horror-comics hero Steve Niles and Ben Sokolowski from the former’s adaptation of Paul Kane’s short story “Dead Time”, New Year’s Day does indeed feel like something that has sprung from the pages of an old Creepy or Eerie issue. As she tries desperately to get to her boyfriend’s place, where safety hopefully beckons, Helen has a series of unpleasant encounters with the ghouls, and one threatening human, all illuminated by lots of intermittently flashing lights and the occasional spotlight from a passing helicopter. Every so often, we get glimpses of what went down for Helen at a party the night before… As televised terror goes, it emerges overall as a satisfying hour.’

3 out of 4 Skulls
(Michael Gingold, Fangoria )

 

‘The atmospheric photography of the episode reminded me a bit of Cloverfield but the perspective of the episode takes a twisty turn… It was an amazing, new, refreshing twist. Fear Itself is really pulling it out so far for each episode… If I were to rate this episode on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d dare give it an 9. The ending boosted it up from a probable 8.’


(Bruce Simmons, Cinema Static)

 

‘Bousman takes Niles’ script and adds a layer of frenetic style, mixing constant confusion with the claustrophobia to create an atmosphere that actually breeds some scary moments. Helen (Evigan) is grieving over the loss of a family member. The story doesn’t go into a lot of detail about the loss but it does provide enough background on it to properly set the tone for the character, from whose perspective the story will be told. After some prodding one of her friends convinces her to go to a New Year’s Eve party. At the party things just get more miserable for her and she tries to drink her misery away. She wakes later in the evening back home to find the city ravaged by zombies and the only safe place she can find to go is her boyfriend’s apartment.
The story is told with Helen fighting her way through zombies and the party revealed in flashbacks. The transitions between the current horror and the previous night’s events are slick and interesting to look at. The party again reminds me of the party scenes in Cloverfield. While the scenes weren’t shot as shakily as those in Cloverfield they still featured young shallow people partying while horrible events are being shown on a television in the background. There’s a lot that could have made this episode a failure, but the perspective given to us through the fog of a hangover is a fun approach and the execution of the horrific scenes is as good as it gets on TV. Fear Itself is on a solid path of constantly improving each week. Hopefully it didn’t start getting better too late.'

B+
(Stephen Lackey, Mania.com)

 

‘Looking like a slick music video (Bousman’s signature), New Year’s Day was the result of mixing Cloverfield and Dawn of the Dead together. A dynamic group of characters in New York, a party to celebrate the New Year, a mysterious event, and all the while we’re trying to figure out what the fock is going on, just like the characters on the screen. The episode was nice and bloody, finally delivering on the ‘Parental Advisory’ notice preluding the show. I dug the twist ending, and feel that every zombie flick should have some sort of weird zombie love story to it… as well as a level of zombie revenge. Once the final scene was revealed, I realized the story was along the lines of the classic Tales from the Crypt comics, being that of a zombie / love / revenge story. In the end, New Year’s Day delivered when it came to scares, blood/gore, and had interesting enough characters to show us the way. And zombies… gotta love them zombies.’

3.5/4
(Ammon Gilbert, Joblo/Arrow in the Head site)

 

‘Not only do we get the freshest possible zombies, making it even less likely that you’ll know at first sight what you’re facing, but Niles is giving the story to us from the point of view of an incredibly hung over young party-goer. Limiting us to her perspective increases the sense of chaos and confusion. This works from the beginning, and then even more so when things change at the end. Bousman’s frenetic directing throughout brilliantly amps up the sense of terror. It’s as if Fear Itself has finally found a pairing of story and director that allows for a truly scary experience on the small screen. This was easily the best episode of the run thus far with solid acting, effects, pacing, writing and direction. Who knew it could be done?
Briana Evigan, who’s most well known role thus far is in Step Up 2: The Streets, does a great job here at looking hot and terrified at the same time. I’d always thought that a zombie outbreak in the middle of a city would be a lot more terrifying than the more rural or suburban outbreaks that we usually see. From the beginning, with Helen (Evigan) trapped in her apartment building, you could sense the huge threat level. There are just so many people in such a small area, the danger would be multiplied a thousandfold from the likes of Night of the Living Dead.
Then, you’ve got the story shifting to the previous evening, New Year’s Eve, and the festivities that lead to Helen’s hung over state, and the scenes are just packed with people. So many people drunk on New Year’s Eve, so many potential undead zombies craving human flesh come New Year’s Day. Even the expected radio and television news reports feeding us viewers information about the outbreak – even if the main characters weren’t particularly paying attention to them – were well handled.
Ultimately, I loved how this was a zombie revenge story. A woman scorned getting vengeance against the man who did her wrong.’


(Jason Hughes, TVSquad.com)

 

New Year’s Day is a dark and exciting thrill ride from its disturbing opening all the way through its clever twist ending…New Year’s Day not only allows director Darren Lynn Bousman to show off all the MTV-style editing techniques he loves to use so much in the SAW movies but also actually gives him a reason to do all that manic quick-cutting. The episode is dangerous and disorienting from the start – we’re truly watching all of this madness unfold through the eyes of Helen, nowhere near recovered from the heavy drinking she did just a few hours earlier: desperate, confused but determined. The action is punctuated with sudden bursts of violence; you never quite know when another “infected” is going to show up, which makes for some very well done shock effects. Helen’s journey is skilfully intercut with flashbacks depicting the emotionally exhausting events of just a few hours earlier, before the epidemic (the cause of which is never completely explained), in which we meet the two men she’s currently seeking, as well as the best friend who betrayed her (Zulay Henao). The cast is all quite good, but special mention must be given to Briana Evigan, who portrays Helen as a wounded, melancholy but ultimately very strong woman. Her initial panic and fear turns into a kind of seething determination to survive and confront the man who broke her heart, even in the midst of a zombie infestation. It’s kind of a shame that her excellent performance is a bit negated by the twist ending, but, admittedly, it’s a twist you won’t have seen coming – and the final moment shows the episode’s cruel sense of humor that’s been lurking underneath all the relentless intensity.’


(Bryan Enk, UGO: Lifestyle for Gamers)

 

To watch New Year’s Day as a webisode at Fearnet.com, click here.

Fear Itself boxed set DVD

To buy the Fear Itself complete first season boxed set from Amazon.co.uk click here and from Amazon.com, click here.

 

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© Paul Kane 2003-2017. All rights reserved. Materials (including images) may not be reproduced without express permission from the author.