Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

October 2, 2014

Movie Review: The Battery (2012)

Directed by Jeremy Gardner

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Ben (director Jeremy Gardner), a bearded cynical baseball player has teamed up with his younger former teammate Mickey (Adam Cronheim) to roam post-zombie apocalypse New England. The two couldn’t be more dissimilar; Mickey years to return to the post-Apocalyptic past while Ben just wants to take advantage of life in the ruins. The two men share a traumatic background, spending three months holed up in a house surrounded by the undead, forced to do extreme things in order to survive. Driving aimlessly through the still—beautiful countryside, Mickey picks up a transmission on a radio one day. From fragments of a broken conversation, he learns that there is a survival camp called “The Orchard” and there are still women left. Mickey makes attempts to make contact with said female, Annie (Alana O’Brien) – but is rebuked and warned away. Both Mickey and Ben finally hookup with Annie, with disastrous results – plunging them into a days-long ordeal trapped in their car surrounded by hordes of the undead …

The Battery is garnering rave reviews and positive feedback for good reason. The filmmakers here realize that the best zombie films are never about zombies. For a film that shows little else than two baseball players reduced to slacker-dom – there is no baseball after the end of the world, after all – there is a lot The Battery’s plate. At heart it’s a classic “buddy” picture of two male friends who are threatened by the introduction of a female. The wistful and romantic Mickey yearns for some female companionship, and in a grotesque and hilarious scene, “makes do” when he finally sees a scantily clad zombie girl. The Battery also calls to mind other classic doomsday movies such as The World, The Flesh and the Devil (1959) where an emptied world throws the petty details of day-to-day life into broad relief. The film is funny, scary, and deeply sad and when it needs to be – blindly hopeful. This is especially true about the film’s last 40 minutes, that doesn’t stray from the inside of the heroes’ filthy car. There’s little question why this film has been a hit with audiences, and its release to digital will only make its following grow even further.

The Battery’s Blu-Ray extras are worth anyone’s time. There is an audio commentary with Writ-er/Producer/Director/Star Jeremey Gardner, Producer/Star Adam Cronheim and Producer/Director of Photography Christian Stella.  The standout extra is the nearly feature-length documentary on the making of the film, “Tools of Ignorance: The Making of The Battery," which clocks in at 90 minutes! Reportedly shot for a $6,000 budget – although this reviewer will bet the post-production sound and editing work went far beyond that slender figure, Gardner and friends regale the viewer of making their film for pocket lint. The documentary never drags, and is full of fascinating minutiae.

There are the expected outtakes, a theatrical trailer and “Rock Plaza Central at the Parlor,” about the great indie rock score heard in the film. Music is integral to the story, as the headphones the two male characters use are seen as both a blessing and curse to their forced nomadic existence. The rollicking music they listen to assists in blotting out the nightmare landscape that surrounds them – but also makes them easier prey for the leagues of the zombie undead: perhaps an interesting metaphor for a media-glutted society …

And what’s a great film without a little controversy? There have been brick-a-brats hurled at Gardner and company for the film’s ending. This is discussed at length in the disc’s documentary. The film’s conclusion was dictated due to the ending being “visually displeasing.” For those who dislike the abrupt conclusion offered herein, you’re encouraged to keep watching until the end of the final credits.

Overall, The Battery is the best horror film I’ve seen in a long, long time. And I see a lot of ‘em. See it when you can!

No comments:

Post a Comment