Film Review: THE ZERO BOYS (1986)

Film Review: THE ZERO BOYS (1986)

Sep 22, 2018

IMDb: The Zero Boys (1986)
Director: Nico Mastorakis
Stars: Daniel Hirsch, Kelli Maroney, Nicole Rio

The Zero Boys, as it turns out, are a group of paintball and survival enthusiast, an almost literal group of weekend warriors. After having beaten their rivals in a game of paintball, a sequence that is shot with the appearance of using real guns and ammunition, Steve (Daniel Hirsch), Larry (Tom Shell), and Rip (Jared Moses), the lead members of the team, take their girlfriends, Sue (Nicole Rio) and Trish (Crystal Carson), and the newly acquired by way of bet Jamie (Kelli Maroney) on a weekend camping trip with the intention of getting laid and practicing their craft. While driving through the woods, the group hears a woman’s screams but are unable to determine their location or find the person that the screams emanated from.

Driving deeper into the woods, they stumble upon what appears to be an abandoned cabin where they decide to settle in for the night. The group begins to experience odd things, visions of a man with a knife, a man peeping through holes in the wall and the inevitable recurrence of a scream. Eventually, the men make their way to the shed out back and discover that the house is not abandoned and that it is actually the home of a couple of snuff film producers, complete with a kill shack filled with cameras and two-way mirrors.

As the film shifts into full on slasher mode, some of the charm begins to wear as the seams become more and more noticeable. As the group gathers their live ammunition, which they use to practice with for some reason, and try to survive the night, the film dulls out and moves into some pretty cliched moments that slide right into one of the most disappointing finales I have seen in awhile. Luckily, it isn’t bad enough to destroy your enjoyment as the film is filled with plenty of cheesy one-liners and filmmaking gaffs to keep you laughing the entire time.

While The Zero Boys lacks the typical sleaze and gore that you would expect from a film that borrows heavily from Deliverance and Friday the 13th, The Zero Boys was actually shot on the same locale as Friday the 13th Part III, the story is oddly entertaining. Nico Mastorakis would go on to produce and direct dozens of films after this, but none of them live up to the charm and absurdity of The Zero Boys. For those that have not seen it yet, get ready, you are in for one hell of a ride.

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