Zombie Appreciation Night continues following the UK zom-com Stalled with the character driven undead piece The Battery.
Made for a budget of barely $6000, the film focuses on Mickey (Adam Cronheim) and Ben (Jeremy Gardner), a pair of former ball players, paired together as survivors, constantly on the move as they eke out an existence that slowly has stripped away their humanity. Ben tries to hold onto his creature comforts, and by extension everything that makes him human, losing himself in his headphones in an attempt to keep the world, Mickey and the zombies at bay.
Mickey, on the other hand has regressed to a hunter-gatherer mentality, constantly on the move, like a shark. The only thing that unifies them is their love of baseball, beyond that the two of them have almost nothing in common, and it tries on their tenuous relationship.
Focusing more on the two of them, and how they survive as opposed to taking on rampant hordes of zombies, the film, at best, can be described as slow moving, punctuated with moments of panic, which would probably be reflective of the actual event should it happen.
Refusing to get stuck in one place, they find a car, but even that may prove to be a death trap in the end…
Mickey’s humanity is stripped away a bit at a time, as Ben finally gets him to kill his first zombie, he’s denied entry to a compound known only as The Orchard, and a young woman, Annie (Alana O’Brien), warns him off.
These events push him almost to the breaking point, but it also drew him out of his earphones, and he and Ben begin to actually interact. As they begin to slowly connect, they come across an escapee from the Orchard, and the events that follow leave them marooned in their car, surrounded by a legion of ravenous undead. At this point tedium and terror intertwine, as the car is constantly rocked by the mass of bodies, and the days and nights are filled with their guttural moans and calls.
Both characters are human, and as such are deeply flawed, and by the end of the film, as the relationship is tried, attacks are made, the baseball is slowly unraveled, stripping away everything until there is nothing left but the very core of the ball, and the core of humanity, the spirit of survival in the face of adversity, pain and the horrors that are visited on us, by others and ourselves.
This is one for die-hard zombie, post-apocalyptic story fans, it’s not your usual undead flick, and some of the sequences may seem overlong and drawn out, it’s not for everyone, but as a character piece, I thought it was truly top-notch.
It also has a fantastic indie and alternative soundtrack which in itself makes the movie worth checking out!
What are you seeing After Dark?