02
Jan
09

Review: Zero Day

zeroday01

“We’re gonna be God. No mistake about that.” So deadpans Andre into the camera as he and his best friend Cal approach the date on which they plan to execute a Columbine-style assault on their high school. Though this video diary-style film was shot entirely on handheld video cameras with first-time actors, writer-director Ben Coccio’s harrowing first feature should be safe from any Blair Witch Project comparisons. At its opening, Zero Day introduces Cal and Andre (played by Calvin Robertson and Andre Keuck respectively) in a deceptively playful tone, showing the self-proclaimed “Army of Two” joking, burping, and forgetting the words to their loose manifesto against high school in general. But things quickly turn dark as the gravity of their violent intentions becomes clear. The voyeuristic access Coccio gives us to his characters is the film’s real strength, trapping the viewer in the uneasy position of laughing with these goofy teenagers one minute and following a pipe-bomb tutorial the next. And when “Zero Day” does arrive, Coccio’s video technique captures the brutality in a way that’s neither stylized nor exploitative. But in the wake of the real Columbine and the mainstream media’s ensuing fascination with a motive, what’s most unsettling about this film is that the boys never offer an explanation for their actions. After letting his audience get so close to these kids, the sense of disconnection that Coccio  leaves us with is nearly as disturbing as the film’s grisly finale.

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