Stars: Daniel Hirsch, Kelli Maroney, Nicole Rio, Tom Shell, Jared Moses, Crystal Carson, Joe Estevez, John Michaels | Written by Robert Gilliam, Nico Mastorakis, Fred Perry | Directed by Nico Mastorakis
You could say that the 80s are the decade that just keeps on giving, especially when it comes to cult movies. There are some that may pass by your radar though, and you miss out on their glory. This is the case of The Zero Boys for me, and lucky Arrow Video’s new Blu-ray has allowed me to fix this.
A group of survival game players, The Zero Boys decide to take a trip to the woods to let off some steam. With new friend Jamie (Kelli Maroney) tagging along everything seems to be going okay. When they discover a cabin in the woods though and decide to shack up there it doesn’t take long before they realise they are not alone and must quickly learn some real-life survivalist skills.
Directed by Nico Mastorakis who gave us the video nasty Island of Death, The Zero Boys is tame in comparison, but has an impact in a much more different way. Whether it was intentional or not, what the film does is take a satirical look at the “Cabin in the Woods” sub-genre of movies and creates a satire around them. The fact that The Zero Boys have zero talent in actual fighting is just the first problem they’ve got.
What works with The Zero Boys though is that it is knowingly crazy. Take the fact that the paintballers have a store of automatic guns for “target practice” and you’ll tend to get an idea of how subtly satirical the film is. If you want to watch an eighties cult film that is fun and very entertaining, The Zero Boys actually fits the bill well. Where this film does get impressive as an action/horror film though is in some of the mechanics it uses. Fans of Cabin in the Woods will recognise the use of 2-way mirrors for example, and there are moments in the film that will remind you of Severance. The fact that these moves came decades after The Zero Boys shows that while this may not be a gore fest horror, there was a certain brave innovative style to the chaos on-screen.
Fans of Night of the Comet will recognise Kelli Maroney in The Zero Boys straight away, though her character does have slight differences. She works well with co-star Daniel Hirsch who stars as Steve, the guy who “won” her in a bet, though that is only used to introduce her as a character. Similar to her Night of the Comet role though she is an attitude filled bad-ass, ready to kick ass when needed and features in some of the film’s more interesting fight scenes.
Typical of Arrow Video they’ve done well with the special features, including a commentary track with Kelli Maroney. an interview with Nico Mastorakis, by Nico Mastorakis is also included, which is interesting. The questions he asks himself really work well with The Zero Boys and it is nice to see he is proud of his cult hit. With excellent picture quality, The Zero Boys holds up well, even if the character’s hairstyles may not. Let’s just say they are very eighties in style.
I’m sure there are many people like me who didn’t really know about The Zero Boys, and will wonder if it is worth their time to watch. The answer is yes, as this really is a hidden gem of the eighties. It may not feature much gore, but the sense of humour is strong in this one, and it has a certain edge to it that makes it feel just a little special. Well worth checking out, Arrow Video have treated us well with this release.
The Zero Boys is available on Dual Format Blu-Ray and DVD in the UK now.