THE ZERO BOYS is one of those movies I think I used to see in video stores in my younger years, but never bothered to pick up. I say I “think” I saw it because I can’t be certain, yet the title tugs at my memory for some reason. I really wish I had thought to give it a look, though…this film is A LOT of fun and definitely deserves a spot in every 80s flick-fan’s library!
If you are not familiar with THE ZERO BOYS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Arrow Video and MVD Distribution:
DAWN OF A NEW BREED OF HEROES
For a group of young friends, a weekend of survival games in the wilderness turns into a genuine battle of life and death when one of their number turns up dead. Finding themselves hunted by a bloodthirsty band of maniacs intent on slaughtering them one-by-one, the self-styled Zero Boys must now play their war games for real.
Starring Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet, Chopping Mall) and featuring an early score from the legendary Hans Zimmer (Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy), The Zero Boys mixes action, survival and all-out slasher movie elements in a thrilling horror yarn that falls somewhere between Friday the 13th and Deliverance.
I’ll start off by stating this film is not what I thought it would be. I was expecting some schlocky 80s teen-fest with cheap special effects and laughable tension. Instead, I got a pulse-pounding thriller that blends horror elements with some great-looking carnage.
THE ZERO BOYS is shot well and looks good onscreen for the most part. The HD transfer looks tight, however I did note a couple of grainy shots, specifically in the darkened barn. I am can overlook this easily though, as I understand the difficulty involved with getting a good low-light shot.
The acting is pretty good, about typical for a teen slasher from that time period. Daniel Hirsch does a good job as Steve, while Kelli Maroney shines as Jamie. The rest of the cast does a good job as well, however I don’t think anyone gave a truly standout performance.
The special effects are nice, however we don’t get much gore. Granted, what we get is good, but I would have liked to have seen more. This is just a personal preference, and it does not detract from the film at all.
I really love the story in THE ZERO BOYS. As mentioned, it’s a hybrid film that draws from slasher films, but it also sorta sets the stage for future torture-horror flicks like SAW and HOSTEL. This aspect really drew me in, and it made the second half of the film truly entertaining.
THE ZERO BOYS is a big win for me, and I highly recommend it. Director Nico Mastorakis has given Arrow several entertaining titles, including ISLAND OF DEATH and HIRED TO KILL, and this is definitely a worthy addition to his canon. Give this one a look for sure, particularly if you are a fan of 80s thrillers. In addition to the HD picture and sound, the Blu-ray hosts a slew of extras, including:
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
• Brand new 2K restoration of the film, approved by writer-director Nico Mastorakis
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
• Original Stereo audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• Audio Commentary with star Kelli Maroney, moderated by Shock Till You Drop s Chris Alexander
• Nico Mastorakis on… Nico Mastorakis – brand new interview with Mastorakis on the making of The Zero Boys
• Brand new interview with star Kelli Maroney
• Brand new interview with star Nicole Rio
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• Stills Gallery
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
• Fully-illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver