A question that often comes to mind when watching a zombie movie is, “How would I personally make out if there were an actual zombie outbreak?” As most of us aren’t Woody Harrelson or Brad Pitt, the odds of surviving such an event would be greatly reduced (unless you were lucky enough to be living in the Arctic or some other sparsely populated area). Thus, it’s films like Jeremy Gardner’s The Battery that gives us a little more insight into how the “Average Joe” could survive the zombie apocalypse.
This particular zombie movie follows the adventures of Ben (Jeremy Gardner) and Mickey (Adam Cronheim), two former minor league ballplayers who have formed a partnership not so much out of friendship but proximity and pure necessity. Ben is the “Alpha Male” of this pairing and is basically the only reason Mickey is still alive. We learn that at one point, they were trapped in a house in Massachusetts, along with Mickey’s family, for three months before the place was eventually overrun by zombies and Mickey’s family was killed. Ben is the zombie killer while Mickey tends to spend his time listening to his CD player with headphones on as if trying to shut out the unpleasantness of their zombie reality. And just how divorced from reality is this guy? Well, he even gets excited when a scratch lotto ticket tells him he’s one a thousand bucks.
Mickey desperately wants some semblance of a normal life and this leads to many arguments between him and Ben who is the more pragmatic of the two. Since the events with Mickey’s family, Ben refuses to sleep indoors and insists that they live like a shark, constantly moving or ending up dead, but this scavenging lifestyle is clearly not something Mickey is happy with. So, when they find a pair of walkie-talkies and make contact with a group called The Orchard, Mickey is all for tracking this group down despite being told not to look for them as they will not be welcomed.
Mickey becomes obsessed with finding this group, making brief contact with a member named Anna (Alana O’Brien) who tells him “You’ve got to let this go,” and that “This place is not what you think it is,” but these cryptic warnings are not enough to deter Mickey and his hopes for some return to normalcy.
Ben makes fun of Mickey’s fantasies, saying that he has made Anna into some kind of “Post-apocalyptic pixie girl with a gun on her hip, and maybe a garter and a scar so well-placed that it shows how tough she is but doesn’t fuck up her face,” but that she is more than likely to be “A softball coach with a mullet and calves like canned hams.” Unfortunately, Mickey doesn’t take this to heart and his desire to sleep in a bed instead of a station wagon will lead this pair down a dangerous path. Lucky for us, the film isn’t all doom and gloom and we get some rather nice moments of camaraderie as well as some laugh-out-loud moments (Ben catching Mickey masturbating to a hot zombie being a particular highlight), and with a mere $6,000 budget, Gardner is able to create a surprisingly realistic zombie apocalypse.
The world of The Battery could easily exist within that of AMC’s The Walking Dead, with The Orchard being another human outpost run by the likes of The Governor or Negan, but this also makes The Battery seem almost like a pilot for a spin-off series, as the film’s ending leaves us with more questions than answers. Overall, I found this zombie outing to be a nice breath of fresh air; it’s low budget production giving the proceedings a certain charm, and the performances by our two leads were both engaging as well as endearing. The film’s open ending may upset some viewers, but I’d rather be left wanting more than have the movie wear out its welcome. If you are a fan of the zombie genre, Jeremy Gardner’s The Battery is well worth tracking down.
The Battery (2012)
Movie Ranking - 6.5/10
With The Battery, Jeremy Gardner gives us a pleasant stroll through a zombie apocalypse with a pair of survivors one can really identify with, even if one of them needs a smack upside the head.