Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Battery (Scream Factory Blu-ray) - Pitches a No Hitter; Road Movie in Zombie Clothing.

My first experience with The Battery was pretty damn bad. I was tired, and I kept waiting for something huge to happen. It felt slow. I reported back to my friends that I was unimpressed even though they had raved about it. When I told them that I didn't enjoy it, they hammered me to the ground and poured ants on my body after delicately lacing me with sugar (mostly around my genitals). After being forced into a corner, I made a promise to watch the movie a second time, reluctantly. I mean I KNEW nothing happened right? There was no fantastic twist. No amazing effects. It's a zombie movie right? ... No. The Battery is NOT a zombie movie. It isn't a movie filled with fantastic action sequences or head shots. It's a movie that focuses on two friends, post zombie outbreak and how they survive together but struggle separately. It is a psychological movie that will get inside your head, make you question your post-apocalypse plan and, if you're anything like me, will make you feel absolutely anxiety filled for what the Hell I'm going to do "when" the zombies come back to this mortal coil with rotting flesh bodies.

I know why I didn't like The Battery the first time. My expectation was set for zombie when it should have been set for "road movie". That's not to say that this is a true road movie. Our protagonists don't make it that far, but they do have a few "adventures" and discover a good deal about each other. The Battery answers questions that you didn't know you had about your own interworkings and once you realize that, prepare yourself for a thoughtful movie with some excellent performances made for $6,000, you will have to appreciate if not love this picture. Both our leads are lovable and perform well. The story is emotionally driven, passionate and somewhat sad. Of course there are zombies to drive the plot and create dilemmas for our bearded friend and partner, and they're fine too.

If you are an independent filmmaker than you MUST watch the making of feature. It is 90 minutes long. 90 minutes of explanation and detail about the trials and tribulations of making a movie on a microbudget. At the same time you get the feeling like you know Jeremy Gardner. He's like a friend explaining how you make a movie, how you FINISH making a movie (perhaps more important). It's entertaining, full of anecdotes and actually is the perfect companion piece to the commentary track that is absolutely worth listening to. There an outtake reel, trailer and making of the music featurette. The disc contains two different art selections, both awesome. I don't know which one to keep out on the shelf. A good problem to have.

Make sure you are in the right mood to watch a serious movie that has zombies in it, but much deeper than you might think. There are moments of comedy that make you laugh until cry, but they give way to serious moments where you will want to reach out and hug your best friend. A battery in baseball is the combo of pitcher and catcher. You'll want to pay attention to how that dynamic plays out through the picture. When I did just that this most recent viewing it opened up the relationship between the two protagonists that I hadn't noticed on either of my subsequent viewings.

Scream Factory is known for putting out fan favorites, but they also give independent filmmakers a chance on a big stage. This is a great opportunity for the makers of this films to shine, and I strongly urge you to pick up this release. The Battery looks simply fantastic with some beautiful new cover art and a making of feature that is a second full length movie in itself!  Zombie movies ain't dead, but what makes them great is slow to be discovered. This one pitches a no hitter. Do not judge it simply by the zed word.

You can order The Battery now from Scream Factory. Available September 16th.

Synopsis from Scream Factory:

Two former baseball players, Ben (Jeremy Gardner) and Mickey (Adam Cronheim), cut an aimless path across a desolate New England. They stick to the back roads and forests to steer clear of the shambling corpses that patrol the once bustling cities and towns. In order to survive, they must overcome the stark differences in each other's personalities — Ben embraces an increasingly feral, lawless, and nomadic lifestyle, while Mickey is unable to accept the harsh realities of the new world. Mickey refuses to engage in Ben’s violent games and longs for the creature comforts he once took for granted — a bed, a girl and a safe place to live.

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