Anyone that knows me very well knows that I’m a fan of zombie films. I’ve seen a few of them in my days. All different types, too: slow ones, fast ones, stripper ones, fish ones, and even a zombie dog movie. I’m not claiming to be an expert because really how can you be an expert on something that doesn’t exist. Two of my favorites in mainstream media are Dawn of the Dead and Shaun of the Dead. You have your incredibly scary, gruesome, horror movie and a unique comedy. There are tons of zombie films. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen a lot of bad ones. So when I heard The Battery is a zombie movie, I still immediately wanted to see it. However, I had a lot of skepticism when I heard it was kind of an indie film and that it was low budget. My expectations quickly began to fall after that.
The Battery is unsurprisingly you are an A + B Zombie movie. It is the same old dead people coming back to life to kill the ones that are still alive. However, that being said, some zombie movies are not about zombies at all. They are really more about the people and they deal with situations of mass hysteria, lack of society, and constantly fighting for your life. This is one of those stories. This film follows two baseball players as they survive post-apocalyptic plague-filled life on the outskirts of the northeastern United States. Mickey (Adam Cronheim) is a backup pitcher pitted together with Ben (Jeremy Gardner), a starting catcher, who are surviving day to day. As the film goes on, it is increasingly revealing that they have very different outlooks on the survival game. While they act as a team traveling from house to house, Ben is undoubtedly the easy going leader helping Mickey to cope with the current situation. Mickey tends to cope mostly by escaping from the situation into his headphones, which Ben constantly complains that they are going to get him killed eventually. The two struggle to get along and deal with the day to day monotony by playing baseball and casually searching for other survivors. Slowly, Mickey begins to unfold and shows signs of spiraling downward.
I am on the fence with this film. The Battery has so far received mixed reviews. It is not high budget so I knew not to expect out of control special effects. Due to this, I expected more focus on the story line. They actually do a pretty good job and let you get to know the characters; however, the movie is overwhelmingly dull in the long run. The film is full of long dramatic pauses; waiting, sitting, smoking, and extended empty space that made me as an audience member bored. Jeremy Gardner who plays Ben also wrote and directed this film. I can see why he probably put these spaces into the script artistically, but I think with a different director, this film could have fulfilled way more potential. Unfortunately, he just does not have the experience to make this film work for a mainstream audience. I guess this fact stands true because this is not a mainstream film. To me, this is the kind of film you make early in your career. At the least, I can expect to see much more from both Gardner and Cronheim.
The film in its entirety is exceedingly rough, silent (which is surprising with all the music Mickey listens to) and gritty in feel which holds it back. This is where I am conflicted; Gardner does an excellent job on playing the two personalities off of each other in his writing. Ben is a little more relaxed about survival while Mickey really struggles with the lack of normality. This dynamic is one of the only things holding this film together. Their struggle to coexist as friends is only overpowered by their bond as brothers when it came down to dealing with the experience. You could really feel the caring each had for the other by the end of the film. The film also maintained a calm, easiness, and sincere sense of humor from both parties which added to the light-heartedness of this film.
All and all, The Battery is not horrible, but it lacked in that little bit that makes a zombie movie completely enjoyable; whether it is a sense of purpose, sense of humor, or sense of impending doom like you would get from other films of this genre. If you do get the chance to see this film, watch it, but don’t spend a lot of money on it. Otherwise, be prepared to complain about all the money you wasted watching people sit and smoke.
I give The Battery 2 “cans of fish” out of 5.
by Jason Burleson