Monday, 4 November 2013

Review - The Battery (2012 - Dir. Jeremy Gardner)

Here we go then with Part Two of our Celluloid Screams 2013 coverage. The final reviews will be posted tomorrow night. Let's kick off with The Battery.

Being a film named after a baseball term is not good. The UK equivalent of baseball is rounders. And no-one watches or plays rounders once they've left school. Cricket, rugby, football, yes, rounders, no. It gets completely forgotten. Because it's rubbish. This could do with a remake where the main character has a cricket bat and some stumps. After the first innings they could get their wives to knock up a cracking cricket tea with fatty ham and malt loaf. Gorgeous. Then after the match they could leave their wives washing up and get straight down to the club for a few beers, leaving their children outside in the car with a bag of crisps and a glass of orange squash. If they're lucky.

The Battery is actually okay despite the baseball link. Two blokes Ben and Mickey are trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. Their plan is to keep moving. Well, Ben's plan is to keep moving. Mickey, being a bit on the romantic side, would rather bed down in a house for the night with a lovely lady. That's when the problems start.

A lot of people really rated this (it did come second in the audience vote after all). I'm not quite as impressed. It does well in focusing on the drama between the two characters rather than the zombies. I think I've wittered on about this before that zombie films are like Big Brother. They're not about fancy gimmicks and tweaks to the formula. They're about interactions between people. Put an interesting mix of people in the house or in a zombie apocalypse and you've got the basis for something special. Big Brother and a lot of zombie films forget this. The problem for me with The Battery was that the drama didn't interest me enough. It possibly needed editing to tighten things up a bit. One shot near the end when Ben is stuck in the car - and I can understand why they did it - went on a smidgen too long for my liking. Editing wouldn't have helped here though as it's all done in one shot.

It would have also benefitted from finishing a few shots sooner. Once Ben has his plan it would have been interesting to end there and leave it open. More post-film discussion would have been possible. As it is it's still pretty open but less so. 

For me this was an average experience. Admittedly they've done really well with a tiny budget, (it's way better than certain huge budget films like Prometheus and Pacific Rim and many other recent zombie films) but I can't escape the fact that it dragged for me. If they do a sequel get someone in cricket pads and I'm sold.

If you like this you could also try:
Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead.

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