REVIEW: The Battery directed by Jeremy Gardner

You hear a lot of complaining about the glut of zombie-themed television, movies, and books. Perhaps zombies are worn out as a plot contrivance. But there is a reason we can’t get away from the undead: quality zombie entertainment keeps being created.

A prime example is The Battery, a film directed by and starring Jeremy Gardner. It’s the story of two ex-baseball players, a pitcher and a catcher (commonly called in baseball circles as a ‘battery’), traveling to zombie-infested New England together. Gardner is Ben, a free spirit who seems to thrive in the apocalypse. Adam Cronheim is Mickey, who wants to shrink away from the world inside his headphones and desperately seeks the comforts of safety and food.

The movie’s last act occurs almost entirely inside the station wagon with the boys trapped by a horde of zombies. The resolution is sad and satisfying. And like the rest of the film, a bit odd.

There is a lot more dark humor in The Battery than horror. A scene involving Mickey as he’s trapped in their station wagon by a rather ‘attractive’ zombie lady is memorable, funny, and desperately sad. Ben is sharp-witted and a fun character. In perhaps one of the best-drunk dancing scenes I’ve watched, Jeremy Gardner does some fine work. See below.

I’m no film theory guy, but a few things strike a chord with me regarding this scene. First, the song choice is perfection. The lyrics reflect Ben’s refusal to give up and his lighter personality. The opening close-up of Ben’s face (that beard!) puts you intimately into his space during the scene. The framing, with the mural of a Garden of Eden type of setting, juxtaposes well with the drunken freedom Ben is feeling. The shadowing around the dance scene embodies the imaginary wall the character has placed himself inside. Then the long shots from the hallway remind us of the real world that Ben, for all his dancing, still exists and can’t escape from.

Or perhaps it is a scene of a drunk bearded guy dancing. I don’t know.

Amazingly, the film was made for $6000. It’s beautifully shot. Jeremy Gardner does a great job as Ben. Adam Cronheim is serviceable as Mickey (in his first role).

I say check it out.

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