Although it pretty much covers ground that has been unearthed by zombie movies before, The Battery definitely takes a unique approach to the genre. It’s sort of a zombedy. It’s sort of a drama. It’s sort of a tragedy. It’s almost not a zombie movie. In fact, the DVD art on the left, which is the artwork that made the final product I have, is much less representative of the film than the artwork on the right. Yet I still liked the movie!
Okay. I’ll admit. The extensive scenes of nothing happening definitely tested my limited attention span…and exercised my fast forward finger. This is a movie that is virtually strung together by montages for a majority of its running time. Here are the challenges I faced watching the beginning of this film and listening to an endless series of songs that tortured my synth-drenched soul:
— Two “buddies,” one bearded, one not, are pretty much sick of being stuck together after the zombie apocalypse.
— They play catch.
— One fishes while the other scratches lottery tickets.
— They find a cabin then leave it.
— They get a car from one single zombie and drive a lot.
— One steals panties from a house.
— They brush their teeth together.
— They pet some cows.
— They fight over a Walkman.
Twenty-five minutes into the movie there’s been barely any dialogue, and any there has been is pretty much the guys bickering. The bearded dude is totally obnoxious but he’s actually kind of funny (wait until you see his song and dance montage). The pair’s odd relationship is what kept me watching despite the agony of getting through the beginning of the film.
I get it. We get to feel how boring much of the apocalypse would be, get to sense how easily being with the same person every day could get on your nerves…and get to see what the characters in The Walking Dead probably do in their downtime. But I would have been okay with getting it all in about twenty minutes less.
The Battery is really a great character study as we watch the conflicts that arise between two extremely different personalities trying to deal with the zombie apocalypse. And although there is very little in the way of zombie interaction, you can’t help but get sucked in by the characters and the extremes of their behavior. Personally, I was hooked once one of the guys finds a very unique way to masturbate even under such horrific conditions….
If you’re hoping for zombie action, the only time there is a zombie horde is near the end of the film when the guys get swarmed while stuck in a car. But instead of zombie excitement, we are subjected to at least twenty minutes of the guys doing pretty much nothing but sitting in the car coping with their predicament. It has the desired effect, making us feel how brutal it would be being trapped in a car like that. But I’d just like to point out that we spent an excruciating hour stuck in a car with Dee Wallace and Danny Pintauro in Cujo and time still managed not to stand still.
Be patient and see the film’s second half through to the end. Sure, it’s a simple scenario we’ve seen in pretty much every zombie film ever, but all that time we spend with these guys waiting for something to happen makes its impact much more relatable in The Battery.