Film: Zero Day
Andre Kriegman: Ready?A 2003 film directed by Ben Coccio which shares a great number of similarities with the Columbine High School massacre. The film itself is presented in the form of video diaries recorded by the future gunmen, seniors Andre Kriegman and Calvin Gabriel. The recordings document the preparation and rather vague explanations given by the two, as well as seemingly random family scenes and events.
Cal Gabriel: Aim...
Cal Gabriel: Aim...
—The words which marked the beginning of the massacre.
This film provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: Additional information about the setting, main characters and the shooting itself and its aftermath could be found on the now defunct official website of the film. The website was made to look like the official police report of the event and contained a step-by-step account of the attack, the name of the victims and the shooters' profiles.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: The shooters decide they want to die on their own terms, not killed by the police forces.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Cal is portrayed as a gentle, shy and meek boy in his recorded material. The high school security cameras, however, capture a sadistic, violent, irritable and merciless teenager.
- City with No Name: The main character's hometown and high school remain unnamed throughout the story, possibly to give the impression that such things can happen anywhere.
- Deconstruction: One prevalent idea about school shootings is that perpetrators are mentally unstable and abnormal freaks who did what they did because of violent music, videogames, neglectful parents, bullying or a combination of any of the aforementioned factors. The film takes this idea and tears it apart. The main characters look like perfectly normal teenage boys: they are intelligent, funny and good-looking, their regular clothes do not attract attention and their parents are loving and caring, if a little out of touch with them. The official website even reported that they had a decent sized circle of friends and were on good terms with many other students and that they were not singled out for bullying. Before their Zero Day, the boys decide to burn their possessions (books, cds, dvds, videogames, notes) because they knew that everybody will scrutinize their belongings after their death and end up saying that they did it because they were influenced by violent music, games etc. They insist that Zero Day was their idea, and that nobody influenced them.
- Dissonant Serenity: The boys talk about their murderous plan with a chilling calmness and even smile as they either point the gun towards the unseen audience or talk about the devastating effects their rampage will have on the community.
- Downer Ending: Considering the topic of the film, it's not surprising at all.
- Evil Gloating: Andre and Cal gloat as they prepare to shoot the other students.
- Foreshadowing: The teenagers drop hints that only the audience, who is aware of their plan, can comprehend. For example, in the graveyard episode, Cal jokingly says that he has an evil inside which he locks away and keeps from everyone.
- Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The shooting takes place on May Day.
- I Call It "Vera": "I call it Malayna."
- Jerk Jock: Brad, one of the students whom the main characters hate the most.
- Karma Houdini: The main characters think Jerk Jock Brad Huff is one because he drinks and drives all the time and gets pulled over quite often, and yet never loses his license.
- Meaningful Name: Andre's last name is Kriegman, which is German for "man of war". Calvin's last name is Gabriel, which could be a reference to his angelic appearance.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: We're all animals.
- One-Way Trip: Cal is fully aware that he's going to leave the school in a black body bag. Andre does not share this view in the beginning, but later realizes there is no way they can escape.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The two perpetrators are opposites in terms of looks and personality, with Andre being the red oni and Cal the blue one. Even their portraits are color-coded as such.
- Revenge: The gunmen's desire for revenge appears to stem from the fact that they were bullied, although to what extent is never shown aside from a short clip at the beginning.
- Samurai: One of the main characters considers himself a kind of high school samurai.
- Shout-Out: To Columbine. The film itself was inspired by the famous Harris/Klebold basement tapes. It contains certain similar scenes, such as when the main characters go over their arsenal or when they go to target practice.
- During target practice, one of the minor characters says that Cal is a natural. To his comment, Andre adds the words natural selection, which Eric Harris, one of the Columbine shooters, believed in a Social Darwinist variant of. The day of the massacre, Harris wore a white T-shirt with the words printed on it.
- Video Wills: The final tape recorded by the main characters can be seen as this.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The main characters claim that they're going to go to their school and kill as many fellow students as they can in order to give a wake-up call to the community and to teach people what they should value. At one point, Andre defines that as the most respectful and caring thing someone could do.