Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Battery (2012)

The Battery (2012)
Director: Jeremy Gardner
Starring: Jeremy Gardner, Adam Cronheim and Niels Bolle
Running Time: 101 min

Here's another film that I've been wanting to catch for a while now.  I'd been hearing good things about it even before it came out last year at the Toronto's After Dark Film Festival.  I was really interested to see how writer, director,star Jeremy Gardner could create such a talked about film with only a budget of 6 grand and a "very seat-of-the pants" shooting schedule. 

Baseball players, Mickey and Ben live in a post-zombie world and to survive they have deserted the city to live in the wilderness with the idea that "there should be less zombies there".  After a three month stint of being stuck in a house, which the talk about, they are finally on the road avoiding any places that could have them walled up again.  Friends, using the word loosely, the two have adapted differently to the new world.  Ben is aggressive and enjoys destroying any undead that they meet, while Mickey is contemplative and refuses to kill anything, even the things that want to eat him.
  They travel through the wilderness, hunting for food, supplies and anything that can help them survive.  Then one day after finding a set of walkie talkies, they hear the voices of other people.  Mickey is excited and asks them if they are able to join their group, but his dreams of living with other people are crushed, when Annie, the voice on the other end, tells them that there is any room and not to bother looking for them or they will kill them.  Will Mickey and Ben take Annie's advice and keep on truckin or will they take the risk and try to find the other survivors of this zombie holocaust?

  I dug this movie and thought it was probably one of the most realistic portrayals of what would happen to regular people in a zombie apocalypse.  Mickey and Ben aren't muscle bound, sharpshooting, wisecracking supermen but just regular guys stuck in bad situation and have to make the best of it.  They're scared, sad and angry that they've lost their friends and family and Adam Cronheim, first role as Mickey, and Jeremy Gardner (The Bags, The Robert Cake) really bring this across in their scenes.  The story is good and reminds me more of the "Walking Dead" comics than the TV series because it is more character driven and focus is more on the relationship between Mickey and Ben.  Sure there are zombies but instead of popping up when needed and forgotten when not, there is a constant sense of danger that director/writer/actor Jeremy Gardner really encapsulates in the film.

  Not that the film is all touchy feely, there are a lot of good zombies and zombie heads being crushed.  Which the special effects team, considering the budget do create rather well.  
  Also, there is a really great soundtrack to this film but this leads to only issue with the film that I have, which is the audio mixing.  It's not the dialogue but the how the music comes in and out of scenes.  It seems to attack and maybe it was suppose to be that way but I found it annoying at times. It doesn't destroy the experience but it was noticeable to me, anyway.

   This is a very different and more abstract zombie film.  The zombies aren't the main focus but only one element of the dangers in this new environment.  The pacing is quite different and may put people off at first but if you give the story a chance to develop, you'll find it quite enjoyable. In a world cluttered in zombie movies, this film is a refreshing look at how shit will probably go down.

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