The Battery is a 2012 American horror drama film and the directorial debut of Jeremy Gardner. It stars Gardner and co-producer Adam Cronheim as two former baseball players trying to survive a zombie apocalypse.
Deep in rural Connecticut, the undead roam the countryside whilst slacker-types Ben (Gardner) and Mickey (Cronheim) are at loggerheads as to whether to bunker down in a vacant property or carry on moving in an attempt to find salvation.
With Mickey begrudgingly opting for the latter, they roam aimlessly through New England finding little but shuffling corpses but becoming increasingly unhappy with each other’s company. Ben is happy with the lawless lifestyle finding fun in taking potshots at easy targets, whilst his friend is far from comfortable with the situation, even being interrupted whilst ‘massaging’ himself at the sight of a particularly buxom ghoul.
As tolerance grows to hate their journey is punctuated by the interception of a radio message which gives them hope of sanctuary, even if the humans they’re hearing sound far from friendly.
Less an excuse to shoot scenes of exploding squibs and desecrated corpses and more an examination of the frailty of the human condition, The Battery is more than a pleasant surprise, it’s the shot in the arm the entire genre required and many more experienced film makers had tried and failed at. For $65,000, you’d be tempted to grab a camera yourself when you realise such a film were possible.
Widescreen shots of sun-lit New England eschew ho-hum scenes of nighttime raids and wait-for-it jumps, allowing the characters of the two to gradually seep into our consciousness. Mickey owes a debt of gratitude to Ben for saving his life but can barely contain his disdain for his gung-ho attitude and Neanderthal pot-smoking ideals, desperate to return to the simple chores of his old life.
[Spoiler] Their conversations are entirely believable and despite the outdoor settings, the claustrophobia is palpable, made all the more extreme when the film reaches its conclusion, with them trapped in the back of their rickety car.
Such is the care and thought behind the film, we are also saved the trapping of ‘found footage’ and faux shaky camera. Despite the tight budget, there is real beauty in the cinematography and with excellent pacing leading to a surprise and rather moving ending; all with essentially just two characters in the whole film.
The recipient of several festival awards, this appears to have missed out on the deserved breakout and seems doomed to be seen in years to come as a lost classic.
Daz Lawrence, MOVIES and MANIA
This final act of The Battery is a brave move, striping down the action to an absolute minimum – two men locked in a car for days, becoming ever more desperate and knowing that there is no way out […] here it builds a real tension, not so much with the clash of personalities (we’ve already had that) but rather in the growing desperation and feeling of panic.
The knowledge that there is no way out of this situation alive is what makes The Battery so effective. It’s a fascinating way to end a film, especially one that has made so much of the wide open spaces, and it does that rarest of things – it makes zombies suddenly seem like a genuine threat. Their weight of numbers, their single-mindedness and the fact that they can surround a car for days, weeks, even months makes the situation all the more hopeless and unsettling.
David Flint, MOVIES and MANIA
“A different kind of zombie movie, The Battery isn’t all about the guts and spectacle. It’s about its two main characters, who couldn’t be more different from each other if they tried. The Battery is a low-budget effort that is high on character development and a gripping script with a killer soundtrack to match.” Cultured Vultures
“If the 100-minute movie would be slightly more effective at 91 minutes, that’s a small complaint. What matters is that there are a few good ideas to begin with. I’m not sure that The Battery pulls off everything it’s aiming for, but it’s always cool to see a new perspective on zombie-dom that’s presented by two interesting actors. Plus, fine, Act III displays some true cleverness.” FEARnet
Cast and characters:
Jeremy Gardner … Ben
Adam Cronheim … Mickey
Niels Bolle … Jerry
Alana O’Brien … Annie
Jamie Pantanella … Egghead
Larry Fessenden … Frank
Kelly McQuade … Laura
Eric Simon … Basement Zombie
Ben Pryzby … Dead Zombie by Lake
Sarah Allen … Dead Zombie by Lake
Nichole Kinnett … Car Zombie
Lyles Williams IV … Motel Zombie Guy
Olivia Bonilla … Motel Zombie Girl
Elise Stella … Fresh Slut Zombie
Matt Bacco … Mickey’s First Kill
Cynthia Stilson-Shook … Zombie
Bridgeport, Kent and Norwalk, Connecticut
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1