The Battery

Year: 2012
Production Co: O Hannah Films
Director: Jeremy Gardner
Writer: Jeremy Gardner
Cast: Jeremy Gardner, Adam Cronheim

Another day, another zombie movie. Does this one have a difference? Maybe not in concept, and it's even pretty slight on action and bloodshed, if anything. But there are a couple of very inventive ideas, like the notion of being trapped in a car for days on end and trying to sleep, eat and exist with hordes of zombies moaning and battering the windows as they try to get in.

It's the most evocative sequence in star/writer/director Jeremy Gardner's zombie apocalypse thriller, and it's also clever because it emerges from a callback from much earlier in the film, one that's driven a decent part of the story.

With his bushy beard, Ben (Gardner) might be a crazy-eyed mountain survivalist or just be a displaced city hipster. He's also kind of an arsehole, the tormenting frat boy to straight man Mickey (Cronheim), a quiet guy who doesn't want to have to lop zombie's heads off if he can help it and just wants the world to get back to the way it was.

It's an effective if obtuse character dynamic and while there's not much happening with zombies and the pair are just hiking across new England somewhere looking for safety, it keeps the story afloat.

There's no real plan but to keep walking. Mickey (who sounds so much like a young Richard Dreyfuss it's scary) wants to stand still for five minutes and not run, where the more practical Ben knows they can't stay anywhere long. Neither of them seems to have thought about the fact that they can't walk forever so they just keep going, sneaking into buildings in search of provisions, fighting off the odd zombie menace and arguing.

It's not a masterpiece and the acting and dialogue feel forced more than once, but what it lacks in polish in the performance and directing it makes up for in eagerness. There's also a welcome lack of polish in the cinematography – it's not found footage but with some lo-fi camerawork (including an almost fish-eye outlook during the car sequence), the claustrophobic visual outlook sets a nice mood and is also an effective metaphor for the conundrum the guys are in.

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