Blu-Ray Review- The Battery
Distributor: Scream Factory
Street Date: September 16th 2014
Technical Specifications: 1080P Video, Color, 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Just when you thought the Zombie subgenre couldn’t possibly have anything else original to offer, along comes The Battery. Filmed in just 15 days on a shoestring budget, unlike many independent horror films, The Battery doesn’t look or feel “cheap.” In fact, the film features surprisingly stunning cinematography and fine performances from filmmakers/actors Jeremy Gardner and Adam Cronheim.
In The Battery, we meet Ben (Jeremy Gardner) and Mickey (Adam Cronheim), two former baseball player buddies just trying to survive the day to day hopelessness and despair that is the zombie apocalypse. Ben is the more resourceful and useful of the two, having learned the skills he needs to survive (killing zombies, fishing, etc.), while Mickey would rather sit around listening to music on his headphones and killing time scratching off useless lottery tickets. Mickey wants to sleep indoors where he feels they will be safer from the zombie hordes, while Ben opposes this idea, feeling they are safer when they’re constantly moving and able to easily escape their surroundings. The film is not structured in your typical fashion, with its non-linear narrative focusing more on the relationship between the Ben and Mickey than any specific events that occur. They laugh and joke, they argue, they fight, and makeup. This is what friends do, after all. Even the events that do occur during the film, such as the prospect of joining other survivors they come in contact with over walkie-talkie’s, is more of a source for conflict between friends than a crucial “tipping point” in the plotline.
Having said that, it kind of goes without saying that The Battery is not your typical Zombie film, or Horror film for that matter, but it’s a surprisingly enjoyable and unique film in the genre. I hope typical Horror fans that are looking for relentless action, zombie guts, and hordes of undead mayhem are able to look deeper, and enjoy this thoughtful little gem. The chemistry between Gardner and Cronheim is what makes The Battery so special, allowing for significant exploration of the friendship dynamic set against the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse. There are also some incredibly funny moments that occur, I mean where else are you going to see someone masturbate to a zombie? Did I mention the music is insanely good? It’s just another reason to sit down with a cold one and enjoy what’s in store between Ben and Mickey. This is a fine film, and I’m glad Scream Factory has unleashed it to the masses as part of their ever-growing collection of the macabre treats of celluloid.
Even given the budgetary constraints, this is a fine looking transfer from Scream Factory. Colors are bright and bold, highlighting the lush green grass and hot summer days in which the film takes place. The film has a gritty and often intentionally unfocused look to it, which comes across beautifully in High Definition. Detail is especially clear, with facial features and foreground objects exhibiting a very lifelike presence. This is a solid presentation of the film for the format.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is fairly good, delivering a dialogue heavy presentation without any anomalies to speak of throughout. This isn’t going to put your system to the test or wake the neighbors, but it’s especially well balanced where it needs to be, with the subtle background noises of the wilderness and occasional gunfire and splatter effects coming through clean and clear.
Scream Factory has provided fans of The Battery with an array of bonus material for this Blu-Ray release. Here’s a breakdown of what’s included:
- Audio Commentary– Jeremy Gardner (writer, director, actor), Adam Cronheim (producer, actor), and Christian Stella (Director of Photography) discuss the film in great length here, with hardly any silent spots throughout this audio commentary. If you’ve already watched the Tools of Ignorance documentary, much of this is rehashed, not that it hurts. These guys are very fun to listen to and hearing about their adventure making this film is worthwhile.
- Tools of Ignorance: The Making of The Battery– O. hannah films provides a documentary piece that is pretty much the same length as the film itself. The cast and crew is really likeable, and this documentary sheds light on the early days of the filmmakers including their first short film efforts, writing and financing The Battery, and much more. These guys truly made their dreams come true, and their heart is in the right place. Great stuff!
- Trailer- The original theatrical trailer runs almost exactly 2 minutes and features a fun soundtrack for the film, highlighting some of the unique camera setups, and the unique direction the crew decided to take with this indie Horror offering.
- Outtakes- Nearly 12 minutes of outtakes from the film. Lots of random test shots, goofs, and production footage from behind the scenes of the film.
- Rock Plaza Central at the Parlor- Running nearly 11 minutes, this short featurette has O. hannah films spending a weekend with Rock Plaza Central’s Chris Eaton and Don Murray as they rehearsed to play live for the first time in several years. They make sandwiches, play acoustic guitar in the kitchen, among other things. This is some beautifully shot raw footage of the band practicing.
- More from Scream Factory– Original theatrical trailers for other modern titles from the Scream Factory catalog including: Beneath, Dead Shadows, and Chilling Visions: Five Senses of Fear.
This Blu-Ray edition from Scream Factory features newly-commissioned artwork from artist RP “Kung Fu Bob” O’Brien, as well as reversible art that features the original theatrical poster design. On the reverse of the packaging you’ll find a plot synopsis, production stills, a list of special features, and technical specifications. Inside the case is the Blu-Ray disc complete with more artwork (see photos below).
The Battery is not your typical Zombie film, or typical Horror film for that matter, but it’s a surprisingly enjoyable and unique entry in the genre. This is about friendship and the challenges that we face when things go awry in our lives, and less about gory zombie hordes ripping apart the masses. The chemistry between Gardner and Cronheim is what makes the film so special, allowing for significant exploration of the friendship dynamic set against the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse. The Blu-Ray edition from Scream Factory exhibits a fine presentation of the great cinematography, with bright solid colors and fine object detail highlighting the transfer. The 5.1 DTS-HD audio highlights the dialogue and music well enough, while never necessarily pushing your home theater to the limits. The special features are once again well assembled and impressive, with a great documentary on the making of the film that is nearly as long as the movie itself. The Battery is a funny, dark, and inventive Horror entry that comes highly recommended for those of you willing to try something a little different. This is a fine film, and I’m glad Scream Factory has unleashed it to the masses as part of their ever-growing collection of the macabre treats of celluloid.