Zero Day

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Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd January 2004

Distributed by: Avatar Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Fresh: 28 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Zero Day Review


Columbine-inspired films have become a small industry in recent years, with movies like Elephant and American Yearbook cranking out at a solid clip.

Zero Day is another entry into this budding genre, and it's a quite good one, comprising the video diary of two troubled teens (Calvin Robertson and Andre Keuck) who methodically plan and carry out a rampage at their highschool. The story's (unfortunately) familiar now, but the execution here is innovative.

Taking a cue from Blair Witch, the killers spend the entire film with a video camera focused on either character as they spend nearly a year planning for "zero day," so-called because they plan to launch their attack on the first day of the school year when the temperature hits zero degrees. While they wait, they build pipe bombs, modify their parents' guns, and discuss the many reasons they have -- or don't -- for murdering their classmates.

Eventually, zero day arrives, and the attack commences. (It's not seen from the video camera but rather from a security camera, with a grating 911 call operator providing voice over for the 15-minute event.) The film ends with a ridiculous denouement that feels like an attempt to give the victims' side a point of view here, but it's absurd in the given structure of the movie and weakens the film considerably.

Director Ben Coccio coaxes amazing performances from his teen actors, and I can't even begin to fathom how he gained permission to shoot this movie from their parents and the (apparently) real school in which the massacre takes place. It's a challenging picture that stands as probably the most realistic look at how far teen angst can really go, along with the reasons why it exists in the first place.

Recommended.

The DVD includes a rambling commentary track, screen tests, and various supporting vignettes.


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Zero Day Rating

" Excellent "

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