“NIGHT ZERO”— Time Is Running Out

“Night Zero”

Time Is Running Out

Amos Lassen

A dinner party becomes deadly when a group of friends are trapped inside of their house after a massive alien invasion threatens to take over the world. Things become even worse when it is discovered that the chemical the military is using to destroy the aliens is also turning humans into zombie-like savages. Now the group must band together and try to survive the night… if they don’t kill each other first.

In the prologue we see there is some kind of explosion that releases a chemical gas (it’s ambiguous by whom) with a toxin that increases the person’s rage, and also takes away all inhibitions. Thereby, the infected become very angry and violent without feeling guilt. We are introduced to three couples who come together to celebrate the moving away of Sophie (Dawnelle Jewell) and Eric (Vincent Bombara) from small town Pennsylvania to Boston. Joining them are Monica (Monisha B. Schwartz) and Danny (Umar Faraz), and Nina (Katie Maloney) and CJ (Eric Swader).

For the first 20 minutes or so, we listen as they talk, argue, and celebrate— there is a lot of conversation at the onset. This all takes place in a town about 20 miles away from Pittsburgh

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The film is more of a thriller than a blood and guts movie. There is some violence, and there are spurts of blood, but it’s kept at a minimum and is not a key part of the plot. This is more about how the characters interact with each other and their situation.

The cast is quite strong and work together well. With a mixture of good writing, editing and a wise use of the unseen (such as being able to hear the screams and sirens from outside without needing to drive the audience into it), Director Mark Cantu comes up with a film that is subtle and that becomes more interesting as time passes over its single night. “Night Zero” is about fractured relationships and how adversity draws out the worst in people during an ambient apocalypse. Characters gather for a going away party, only to be swarmed with the pressures of an alien invasion. The Aliens remain off-screen. Growing dread outside leads to dissent inside. The villain here is emotion and truth.

Even as chaos churns outside, the film continues to hone in on a variety of minor issues. Only Katie and CJ matter by the finishing act.

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