Kelli Maroney, Daniel Hirsch, Nicole Rio
Robert Gilliam, Nico Mastorakis (Screenplay), Fred Perry
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The Zero Boys, an under-appreciated indie gem from 1986, could easily be considered a forefather to 21st century torture porn with its increasingly gruesome sequences and no holds barred violence from cult director Nico Mastorakis (Island of Death). The film centers around a group of friends gathered together for a weekend of survival games who, you guessed it, get into a battle of life and death when one of their number turns up dead and it becomes apparent that a bloodthirsty band of maniacs is determined to kill them all one-by-one.
The film stars Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet, Chopping Mall) and, in a pleasant surprise for me, features one of the original early scores from now legendary composer Hans Zimmer. Often described as falling somewhere between Friday the 13th and Deliverance, The Zero Boys weaves together elements of action, survival and slasher into one film that thrills, chills and outright terrifies.
The Arrow Video packaging for the film includes a somewhat disappointing assortment of extras, not only slight by Arrow standards but relatively weak in terms of interviews and a commentary that proves not particularly interesting and likely to appeal to only hardcore fans.
While the packaging is somewhat disappointing, Arrow seems to always please with both audio/video quality. This restoration, which achieves 4K, is damn near perfect and far better than we'd ever expect from a relatively unknown 80's flick.
The Zero Boys starts off promising, but mostly falls the way of most horror flicks in choosing to leave behind substance in favor of rather straightforward, predictable gore. It's not godawful, not by any means, but this is a film that could have been much better than even the 3-star rating it's receiving.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic