the battery | jeremy gardner | adam cronheim | niels bolle | zombie | zombies | adventure | drama | united states | larry fessenden | alana o'brien | jamie pantanella | kelly mcquade | eric simon | ben pryzby | sarah allen | nichole kinnett | lyles williams iv
Film: The Battery
Director: Jeremy Gardner
Writer: Jeremy Gardner
Starring: Jeremy Gardner, Adam Cronheim and Niels Bolle
This was a movie that I didn’t hear about until I got into podcasts. What is a shame is that I left working at Family Video right before this hit DVD so I missed the chance to see it as a pre-street. It was one that went on a list of movies to check out, but just hadn’t got around to it. This is also another one that would make potential lists to watch for October movie challenges, but would get bumped for different reasons. I’m finally seeing it as part of the Podcast Under the Stairs Summer Challenge Series for the 2010s. The synopsis is the personalities of two former baseball players clash as they traverse the rural back roads of a post-plague New England teeming with the undead.
For the most part, we don’t have the most complex story here. What the synopsis states is really the jist of this movie. We are following Ben (Jeremy Gardner) and Mickey (Adam Cronheim). The world has ended and they’re just moving across the landscape. The title comes into play here in an interesting way. Ben was a catcher and Mickey a pitcher, which together they’re referred to as a battery in baseball.
Referring back to the synopsis again, most of the tension here is the fact that they’re personalities doesn’t mesh well. It also doesn’t help that they haven’t seen anyone else alive for some time so they’re getting on each other’s nerves. Ben wants to keep moving. Early into this, they were trapped in a house for a few months and barely escaped. Mickey wants to create some sense of normalcy. He isn’t enjoying how the world is nearly as much as Ben is. Mickey is constantly listening to music on a portable CD player. This does annoy Ben as he feels it is what is going to get them killed.
There is something else that gets under Ben’s skin. Mickey hasn’t killed a zombie yet. There are a few times that Ben sets him up for an easy kill, but he can’t go through with it. There is also an interesting dynamic that Mickey refuses to even call them zombies. Regardless though, they are all the other one has in surviving.
That is until they find some walkie-talkies. Mickey puts in fresh batteries and gives one to Ben to test. They stumble upon two people talking over them. There is Frank (Larry Fessenden) and Annie (Alana O’Brien). They’re told by Frank to stay off this channel and to not try to find them. Mickey can’t give up the idea that there could be a community out there to join. Despite what Ben tells him, Mickey continues reaching out to them.
I think that is where I’ll leave my recap for this movie as I don’t want to spoil how things play out here. Now I will be honest, despite having this on my list of movies to check out for years, I actually didn’t know too much about it. Really the extent was that I knew Gardner was the writer, director and star. I knew this was an independent, lower budget take on the zombie genre and that they were former baseball players. Aside from that, I didn’t really know much else. That is all you really need to know coming in to be honest. Even knowing how things play out, it is more about the journey than necessarily the destination.
Where I think I should delve in first would be the two characters we follow. They are on the opposite sides of the spectrum. Ben is more of an old soul. He wants to just survive. He doesn’t mind the nomadic lifestyle they are living currently. I think he’s jaded by what happened in the house in the beginning of this epidemic. Mickey on the other hand still has hope. He hopes his girlfriend was still alive. They get to a place and he’s adamant to stay there. He really wants civilization. I’m not really sure character-wise what the age gap, if any, there is. When Mickey learns about Frank, Annie and the Orchard, he craves to join. Ben even mocks him thinking that he’s fantasying about Annie and her being attractive. This hope gets the duo in trouble.
Being that not a lot happens and due to a lower budget, I could see people being bothered by the lack of interaction with the undead. We get to see some of that. Ben is out that any time he sees a zombie, he wants to kill it. It made me think of what Dr. Frankenstein from Day of the Dead said, that early on would have been the time to kill them before they outnumbered us. This movie is really more about seeing these characters as they live in this world and the zombies are just forcing them together. They also cause the growth that needed for Mickey. In my eyes, he’s the main character here.
Since I’ve went into the zombies, I’ll go next to the effects. They are pretty subdued, but I’ll be honest, I like what they do for the look of the undead. It is minimalist, so it feels like we’re still early on into the apocalypse. How they move and act is my preferred take on the zombie. I also feel like the world is empty from everything that we see, which is good. It has a vibe. The cinematography is also well done. That is something I’ll give credit to Gardner along with Christian Stella, who does a lot behind the camera. They made a movie that looks great and I think with how they frame things, it can hide things strategically.
Then really the last thing that I wanted to delve into would be the soundtrack. There are a bunch of bands or singers I’m not familiar with, but I really liked what they did here. Part of the reason that with the headphones, we only get to hear the music and it really fit the tone they’re going for. We also get the use of a couple montages where the music is featured. This actually would be a soundtrack that I would seek out as I was a fan of the selections.
That’s all I really wanted to delve into here, so in conclusion I’m glad that I finally did. This is an interesting, minimalist zombie film. The characters seemed real and I was legitimately concerned to see what would happen to them. I think that the make-up of the zombies was good along with how this movie was shot. The soundtrack really does an excellent job as well. Really, if I did have an issue, I think the movie could have moved a bit away from some of the mundane things that we see and flesh out the story just a bit more, but that’s really more of a nitpick. This is just a good movie. I don’t know if all zombie fans will enjoy this, but if you like good acting and character development, this is for you.
My Rating: 8 out of 10