Fear Itself was a short series of 13 episodes each episode of which was written and directed by different people. The series itself only lasted for one season and in many ways greatly resembled such series as The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, although substantially less successful. Each episode is a self contained horror or thriller story.
Episode 6 “New Years Day” was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (who directed several of the Saw films) and stars Briana Evigan as Helen, a young woman who wakes up on New Years Day after a New Years Eve party not remembering the night before. She quickly discovers that the town has been overrun by zombies, the dead not staying dead, which would appear to have been caused by a fire or explosion at a local chemical plant.
As she leaves her apartment to go to where James (Cory Monteith), a man she fancies, and Christie (Zulay Henao), her best friend are living, the story of the night before is told in flashbacks. Along the way she also encounters many of the zombies, and television clips in the flashbacks as well as broadcast warnings on various radios she comes across give some of the background regarding the chemical plant accident and the effect it has had on people who have died.
The story is full of stereotypes – Helen is a bit different from the rest of the girls and is sad and depressed, her best friend Christie is a back stabber, James is shallow and her roommate Eddie (Niall Matter) secretly fancies her. The flashback sequences aren’t exactly handled in the best manner either.
What did make this episode stand out was the twist. Naturally, there had to be a twist – Fear Itself is that type of series. This one, no matter how poorly executed, was unexpected. The twist itself was expected, but it wasn’t the one that seemed the most likely. An unexpected twist deserves a bit of a rating boost, as so often they are completely predictable.