Zero Hour Image

Zero Hour

By Terry Sherwood | January 2, 2024

That anonymous SMS message of someone saying “Hi, let’s meet,” or “Your package owes import fees. Click on the link below to pay.” We have all received these plus the automated phone calls, yet what would happen if they came from a dead loved one? A cruel joke, a software glitch, or an event that would strike terror and confusion in one’s mind. This manipulation is what happens to Ida (Mikala Hoover) in the Justin Groestch thriller Zero Hour, plus a whole lot more.

The picture follows the story of Ida, who has taken time away from her work following the sudden death of her husband. Recovering from grief, she confides in her friend and co-worker Katrina (Sarah Dumont) of her sadness, regret, and how much she misses Issac (Justin Groestch). The two had a perfect brief marriage, and the honeymoon was filled with happy times when it all ended.

Ida returns for night work in a high-rise building. Katrina is there for support, deciding to leave. This sets the stage for a series of malevolent text messages from someone claiming to be Issac on Ida’s phone. The messages from the dead Issac get more and more personal regarding the couple’s honeymoon, taking a toll on Ida’s mind. The messages suddenly warn of intruders in the building. A sudden noise sends her to investigate, meeting a dark-clad figure.

“The messages from the dead Issac get more and more personal…”

Ida slinks around the corridors of her once familiar office, trying to evade them, not knowing why or what they want of her. Near misses, chases upstairs, axes through doors, all by an intruder who suddenly has an accomplice.   Doomed to a rooftop battle, Ida confronts the figures, finding her world is not what it seems. Nothing is what it seems, even friendship, love, and honor.

Zero Hour is modestly produced and makes good use of a ghostly office building and the surrounding area. The camera does wheel with Ida around the corridors of an office building and the stairwell, especially when one of the intruders chops their way into a closet. In some ways, the picture is reminiscent of the Giallo genre with an electronic musical score, women being menaced by something unknown a labyrinthian building interspaced with colourful flashes of light. The intruders are all in black like the Giallo black leather-clad killers. Mikala Hoover, who plays the menaced Ida, resembles the young French Italian female actor Edwige Fenech. Hoover has Fench’s eye makeup, hairstyle, similar dress style, and general look. Fench starred in many now classic Giallo films, such as The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, All the Colors of the Dark, and many others.

Zero Hour has a slow build toward its rooftop conclusion in which the messages never stop tormenting the unfortunate Ida. Oddly writing this, I received a message from an unknown number asking me to “Come and pick me up.” I am not going to, nor will I check out my roof.

Zero Hour (2023)

Directed and Written: Justin Groestch

Starring: Mikala Hoover, Sarah Dumont, Sydney Morgan, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Zero Hour Image

"…nothing is what it seems..."

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