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The Battery – 8

Director – Jeremy Gardner

Cast – Jeremy Gardner, Adam Cronheim, Niels Bolle, Alana O’Brien, Larry Fessenden

Release Year – 2013

Reviewed by John of the Dead

The Battery is a film that I heard a lot about in 2013, but like many others I was skeptical and took my time getting to it. What astonished me about the positive buzz surrounding this film is its very low budget of $6,000, and I constantly asked myself the question “How do they pull off a good experience with such a low budget”, and then I found out first-hand. When this 101 minute experience was over I realized I had just witnessed the biggest film accomplishment of 2013 (that I had seen) and one of the best horror films of the year as well. While not devoutly horror, The Battery mixes zombies/horror with comedy, drama, and an amazing soundtrack to make for a remarkable experience I highly recommend.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies, Ben and Mickey, two former baseball players, find that their personalities clash as they travel across rural New England as a means to stay alive.

The Battery is so much more than your basic zombie film and that is what I loved most about it. Auteur Jeremy Gardner’s story takes off right away and makes the viewer feel as if he/she is living the life our protagonists are forced to live. Much like sharks, they constantly love and never stay still for longer than necessary, and Ben, the more adventurous of the two, loves this way of life. Mickey has yet to adjust to it, instead drowning himself in his headphones and the film’s highly engaging soundtrack. Despite their friendship and their love for baseball, their personalities clash often, and they make for good drama as well as humorous conflict. As with most zombie films that “do things right”, the true focus of the story is not the zombies but mankind’s reaction to their new way of life, and Gardner’s story focuses heavily on our protagonists. There are zombies in the film and they provide both horror and kills, but they are more of an afterthought and take a backseat to the amazing chemistry between Ben and Mickey.

You can write a screenplay for less than $6,000, but can you bring it to life on such a low budget? Jeremy Gardner did and his direction is so incredible it has to be the most impressive direction of 2013 for the horror genre. The camerawork is amazing and plays a major role in keeping the viewer engaged in what is going on by really putting us inside the lives of our protagonists. Gardner’s soundtrack is also highly engaging and is sure to be looked up by the extreme majority of the film’s viewers. What really sells the film direction-wise are the performances from Jeremy Gardner and Adam Cronheim as Ben and Mickey. Their interaction is incredible and they themselves are what brings Gardner’s fantastic story to life, taking us from triumphant joy to gut-wrenching sorrow. Gardner’s execution of the horror is great as well, and thankfully so given the horror’s backseat to the film’s heavy emphasis on character-play. The zombies were positively executed and served their purpose as the source behind the sorrow surrounding Ben and Mickey, although one zombie inadvertently aids Mickey in a way I never thought possible – one of the funniest scenes I have ever seen involving a zombie.

Overall, The Battery is an incredible experience that I highly suggest you become a part of. An epic story complimented with good direction makes for one of the best horror films in recent years. The horror does take a backseat to the more prevalent elements going on, but the horror is still worthwhile and with a film this good you will hardly notice its absence.

Rating: 8/10

…Additional Stills…

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