The closest thing there is to a main character is Blaze (Roz Kelly) the host of Hollywood Countdown, who is the recipient of the phoned in threats from Evil, as the killer dubs himself. She isn't on screen all that much and comes across as far too boring and uncharismatic to be the host of a supposedly hip and popular music show (Though I actually think the same of many real life TV 'Personalities' so what do I know?) She is equally boring off-screen and Roz Kelly has all the acting chops of a potato. Also, without wanting to sound shallow or cruel, she seems far too old and unattractive to be hosting this kind of show- I guess maybe she is meant to be a long established TV personality but this doesn't wash either. Given the way she dresses and acts she seem more like she would be more at home hosting games of bingo than a music show that seems to aimed at the punk rocker set. The movie early on establishes the studio audience at this show being hard core punk types, all sneering, leather clad and knife wielding but the music they are so into, it sure ain't punk. More like bad eighties soft rock- the movie would have worked better following the premise of some angry and violent punk gangs hunting down and killing the purveyors of musical dreck after a misadvertised concert. The bad news is the movie is heavily padded out with scenes of the band playing and the audience dancing around like idiots in some sort of mosh pit. That they are so deliriously enthused about music this generic makes it seem all the more ludicrous.
The other slightly less painful half of the movie, follows the exploits of the killer as he selects and kills his victims. The killer, as played by Kip Niven, who is eventually revealed to be the husband of Blaze, actually gives a good performance. He is low key and creepy and his homicidally misogynistic tendencies are all the more believable for it. As is often the case with these movies he only gets hammy toward the end when he has to start ranting for his final victim to show how insane he is. Even so, watching him pick up his victims and kill them is rather dull. There is no discernible logic to the killings when he rantingly explains his reasons for the killings toward the end- something generic about being emasculated by the wife. He doesn't even follow the new year's eve time zone pattern he set for himself. He kills some woman working at the studio before it would midnight in any time zone and fails to kill anyone at another time. He is a pretty inconsistent killer, he goes to the bother of setting himself a gimmicky and elaborate modus operandi and doesn't stick to it and alternates between victims he has some connection to and random strangers. There is also a long and pointless sequence that is pure running time padding when he accidentally runs down a biker whilst in his car and spend ten minutes eluding them whilst trying to find another victim. If the makers were going for the ineffectual killer angle, as opposed to the more familiar unstoppable killing machine model, good for them but they could picked a less silly way to go about it.
There isn't a lot going for New Year's Evil. When Evil catches Blaze the method of dispatching her is at least original. He ties by the neck with wire to the bottom of the lift in the studio so that as the lift goes up and down the shaft she is jerked up and down but sadly she is rescued promptly and lives. Evil doesn't even warrant a decent death scene, merely throwing himself of the studio building when he is confronted by the police. None of the kills are memorable or inventive so gorehounds will be disappointed and there is only one even half way suspenseful sequence as Evil chases down one of his victims about two thirds in and that is being generous. There aren't even any memorable cheesy moments or dialogue, unless you count the lines utter by Evil over the phone via his electronic voice disguising gadget which makes him sound like the offspring of a union between Kermit the frog and Dr. Claw.
Everything about the movie is cheap, scuzzy and ugly. The music as mentioned is annoying, everything has that grimy early '80s look, which can sometimes be used to good effect but just makes this movie look ugly, all the fashion and clothes are ugly and dated (And not in a fun way) and even all the actors are homely. Maybe this was all done intentionally to give the movie a grittier, more realistic vibe but that seems pointless given how dumb and unrealistic most of the proceeding on screen actually are and if you're going to cast annoying ditzy females to be the slasher fodder in this kind of movies you might as well make them attractive.
Being made by Cannon films, under the eye of the infamous Golan and Globus, who brought us such gems as the Masters of the Universe movie, the Death Wish sequels and numerous Chuck Norris movies I would have hoped for something entertainingly cheesy but New Year's Evil is just bad.