'The Zero Boys' (2-Disc Special Edition)
(Daniel Hirsch, Kelli Maroney, Joe Estevez, Nicole Rio, et al / Blu ray+DVD / R / (1986) 2016 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: A group of friends travel to a wilderness area to play a survival game. Soon they unexpectedly find themselves in a real-life survival situation.
Blu ray Verdict: Filmed on the same locations and sets as 'Friday the 13th Part 3-D', from cult director Nico Mastorakis, the man behind such eclectic offerings as the controversial 'Island of Death' and the Oliver Reed-starring actioner 'Hired to Kill', comes 'The Zero Boys' - the genre-bending 80's classic with gruesome sequences that anticipate the torture porn horrors of both 'Hostel' and 'Saw'.
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'.
Director Mastorakis handles this film very nicely and there's even (given everything that goes on within it) a certain self-control to the film's own limits. That still doesn't disrupt the film's agility and unique spin though, which is a relief. He manages to incorporate some striking images because of the moody lighting, free flowing camera work and a score that has a gloriously kicking vibe.
Technically, the production aspect is more than capable and with a bit more money back then, well who knows what heady heights this film could have achieved. The tight story is definitely offbeat and provides some unpredictable patterns among the many practical clichés. Too bad there are excessive acts that are never truly expended on, as those could have definitely given the whole story a much need kick along at times.
Strangely enough, the killers here are quite average looking, when we finally see them (as they seem to spend most of the film in the shadows). In truth, they just lack any sort of development, after touching on some interesting aspects in the way they torment their victims. You can't help but want to know more about what goes on after each scene has played out (or at least, I did!). As for the "ending", well, don't get me started, sorry! I mean what "ending", is all I'll end with here. This is a new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
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
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
Fully-illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver