Review: THE BATTERY (2013){0}

When we horror fans take note of a new low-budget zombie movie (and we frequently do), our praise is often directed towards the film’s novel hook, energetic presentation, or impressive splatter effects. (All three if we’re really lucky.) But now comes a new low-budget zombie movie that’s not all that novel (indeed it’s virtually plotless), not very energetic at all (it’s actually pretty talky), and it’s not packing all that many zombie kills, truth be told.
So what’s my point? That the $6,000 New England feature called The Battery is just another tiresome and generic piece of indie zombie foolishness?

Nope. If that were the case I probably wouldn’t be reviewing the flick. (Who wants to bash a $6,000 movie?) But it’s important to note that, while The Battery is most assuredly an impressive debut and a very interesting little movie, it is in no way a rock ‘em, chomp ‘em gore-fest that some of you may be expecting.

More of a droll New England mixture of The Walking Dead andWaiting for Godot than an action-horror flick with dry humour, The Battery is about nothing more than two friends who are travelling across the forests of New England after a zombie apocalypse has destroyed most of mankind. Ben (writer/director Jeremy Gardner) and Mickey (Adam Cronheim) are actually more like colleagues than actual pals, but they do display a firm sense of loyalty for one another as they tiptoe through woodlands packed with the ravenous undead. Ben is clearly the leader; a take-charge guy with a pretty great attitude (all things considered), and Mickey is more of the introverted (perhaps even timid) variety, and that’s where much of the conflict found in The Battery comes from.

Kudos to Mr. Gardner for presenting a decidedly different take on the zombie apocalypse, and if a few of his experiments go on for perhaps a bit too long, there’s always something to say for a flick that’s willing to, say, sit patiently inside one location for about ten minutes while we wait for the two semi-heroes to figure out their next move. But Gardner and his co-star have done a fine job of setting up both the characters’ low-key but creepy plight and the film’s no-frills approach to storytelling….

Suffice to say that The Battery is not a zombie flick for all tastes, but taken as a two-person character study/reluctant buddy movie/legitimately novel slant on a very oft-told tale, there’s certainly a lot to like here. 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. Needless to say I’m curious to see what Jeremy Gardner would do with $12,000.


Scott Weinberg