Saturday, October 4, 2014

THE BATTERY (2012)



Written & Directed By: Jeremy Gardenr 
Cinematography By: Christian Stella 
Editor: Michael Katzman & Alicia Stella 

Cast: Jeremy Gardner, Adam Cronheim, Niels Bolle, Alana O’Brein, Larry Fessenden

Two former baseball players, Ben and Mickey, cut an aimless path across a desolate New England. They stick to the back roads and forests to steer clear of the shambling corpses that patrol the once bustling cities and towns. In order to survive, they must overcome the stark differences in each other's personalities. Ben embraces an increasingly feral, lawless, and nomadic lifestyle while Mickey is unable to accept the harsh realities of the new world and longs for the creature comforts he once took for granted. A bed, a girl, and a safe place to live. When the men intercept a radio transmission from a seemingly thriving, protected community, Mickey will stop at nothing to find it, even though it is made perfectly clear that he is not welcome.

More of an odd couple in a zombie landscape. Watching how the two characters survive, the situations they find themselves in while trying to find food and safe shelter along the way. Not real direction to a location.

The film also shows the forming of the relationship of friendship between the lead characters whose personalities constantly clash.

The film is darkly humorous at times and stark. It casts a spell on you with charm and depending on how you feel about the characters. Is probably how you will feel about the film.

The film feels like THE WALKING DEAD only focusing on two characters and leaves a lot of questions unanswered. More like a character study mixed in a zombie apocalypse film.

Elise Stella read Annie and Frank's lines off camera during the filming of the walkie talkie scene.

Larry Fessenden recorded the voice of Frank in his house.

Even though the zombie market is over saturated on all kinds of the media market. It's nice To see other views and stories to tell. It's up to you to decide if they are worth watching and pursuing.

It's limited budget makes the lesser amenities on display give the film a realistic pallor and impresses with what is achieved with so little funding. Creating a vision and world. Director Jeremy Gardner raised the $6,000 budget for this movie by asking ten different friends for six hundred dollars each.

I really enjoyed this film. Even with it's more modest kind of hipster touches that dips into Mumblecore a bit, but quickly redeems itself with it's own identity and creating a cult character worth rooting for.

There are really only two characters though there are lots of scenes that have no dialogue though provide a catchy fun soundtrack of score that sets the scenes and mood.

Composer Ryan Winford used such unconventional instruments as a toaster and a beer bottle for the score.

What the film does effectively is create a world that you want to see more of, but cleverly does it on such a small scale it keeps you off guard to the rules and boundaries of it.

The film keeps managing to surprise as it's tone turns from light comical to surprisingly dark with unexpected problems and resolutions. That feel more realistic then fantasy. Since it leaves you slightly off base.

The masturbation scene was originally an attempted rape scene. Thankfully it was changed

Is it is only a coincidence that the four main characters are unintentionally named after famous mice. Ben (from Willard), Mickey, Jerry (from Tom & Jerry), Annie (from the Annie Mouse books)?

Spoiler

In the scene where Ben is stringing a bow and Mickey confronts him about taking the Walkman, as Mickey leaves Ben jokingly says "I'm gonna fucking shoot you". Later, when they are trapped in the car, this is exactly what Ben is forced to do.

Spoiler End

The film also leaves you with questions and ends with a kind of mystery that leaves it open for more or with a quaint ending that leaves more to explore and a knowledge that people still Inhabit it.

It leaves room for either a sequel or to further explore the world it is set in.

Grade: B-

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