The Battery is a low budget film written, directed and staring Jeremy Gardner. When I say low budget I mean it, filmed on the meager budget of 6000$. But don’t let that deter you for this amazing movie. The Battery in 2013 won the Audience Award for Best Feature at Dead by Dawn the Scotland’s International Horror Film Festival.
Now I’m a zombie fan. Even as a kid I fell in love with the genre and my love of it has stuck with me. Night of the Living Dead (the 1990 remake directed by horror god Tom Savini. I didn’t the see the original till I was in my early 20s) and Return of the Living Dead 3 hold a special place in my memory as two of my favorite childhood horror films. So it’s no surprise that I liked this film. What surprised me was how much I liked this film.
The whole movie came together amazingly. The wonderful score and I do mean wonderful is a major part why I enjoyed it so much. This is one of those movies that will grace my house when I’m busy cleaning or otherwise distracted. The music is just that good. Almost all of it is heard exclusively through the perspective of the characters. I’ve seen this done before in other movies but I’ve never seen it used as effectively as it is here.
Coupled with the films use of wide open spaces often of idyllic countryside it becomes easy to forget that your watching a zombie movie. In fact the first two thirds of the movie have more of a journey of self discovery feel to me then that of a zombie flick. That is until last 30 minutes of the film when that tone shifts. Now taking place almost exclusively in the back of a station-wagon surrounded by the undead. This change made me feel claustrophobic like I was trapped in the back of station-wagon with Ben and Mickey.
The film follows two former baseball players Ben (played by Jeremy Gardner) and Mickey (played by Adam Cronheim) some time after zombie apocalypse. Out of the two of them I enjoyed Bens character the most. He displayed common sense and a willingness to do what was needed to survive. Mickey on the hand kind of grated on me a bit. As the film progressed I found myself warming up to him so he’s not that bad. Not that I would ever want him with me in a zombie apocalypse. Mickeys character had a sense of detachment and childlike behavior at times made him less sympathetic with me. It was Ben who carried most of this film for me. So it’s a good thing that it has such a small cast. Five actors play as survivors then a couple of dozen as zombies Not that any character beside Ben and Mickey get much screen time, the combined screen time of the other actors is around 15 minutes. That’s it so get used to the two protagonists. Ben and Mickeys interaction comes across very natural to me. I had no problems believing that these two were friends and found my self rooting for them. In most zombie films I more often then not find myself rooting for the zombies. So it’s a bit of a treat for me to be cheering on the humans for a change.
Another thing with this film that stuck all the right cords with me is the sense of realism. I think this is largely due to the short shooting period, being filmed in 15 days. But there were a few points where I found some issues. The biggest being a scene in which Ben pets a cow on the other side of a fence. The only reason this scene bothered me is that domesticated cows would have perished with out there human owners by this point. But the scene does have a very optimistic feel that’s often lacking in apocalyptic settings.
So what to give the zombie film that exceeded all my expectations? Mickeys character and a few scenes fall a little flat for me and the gore left a bit to be desired. But gore isn’t what this films about. This film is about Ben and Mickey. I’m going to give The Battery a solid 9/10. Now giving a 9 to Fright Night in my last review I don’t want to give the impression I’m a generous scorer. The Battery is a great film that’s more than worth a watch and more than deserving of it.
The Battery is currently for sale on a number of digital platforms or you could buy it here at he movies official site for low price of 5$.
(PS. The characters are named after mice. I shit you not Ben is from Willard, Mickeys is blatant. Jerry gets his name from Tom & Jerry and Annie gets hers from the Annie Mouse Books written by Annie M. Slanina.)