Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

The Kids are Playing Post-Apocalypse To-day

Do you love Jeremy Gardner? No? Maybe you've never heard of him. That's okay, Gardner admires himself enough for a million fans. He made a movie about himself wandering in beautiful Connecticut woodlands in 2012 called The Battery. It's supposed to be after a zombie apocalypse but it mainly concerns hillbilly hipster Gardner as Ben and an irritable foil called Mickey (Adam Cronheim) wandering around on nice days, confident their mundane conversations are entertaining. Sometimes they are kind of funny but mostly the movie is a shallow and derivative failed attempt at a film of the post-apocalyptic wasteland genre.

Supposedly Ben and Mickey are baseball players. It's never established if they're professional or amateur but Mickey's weak arm in the scenes where the two play catch makes neither seem plausible. They both seem able to kill zombies with baseball bats, something they seem to forget in the climactic scene where the two are trapped in their car by a mob of zombies.

With his full, untrimmed beard, the young Gardner doesn't vaguely resemble any baseball player I've seen but he does look like a certain crop of hipsters who emulate stereotypical impressions of hillbillies, a resemblance that becomes irrefutable in a scene where Gardner dances around with a gun and a bottle of whiskey.

In all the pretty shots of nature at the beginning, including one of Gardner idly staring at a grasshopper on the roof of a car, one might take him for a department store window version of Walt Whitman, the embodiment of a popular, shallow, modern day lip-service to nineteenth century transcendentalism, complete with the sense that the two who've supposedly been on the run from zombies for months always look freshly showered and rested.

The film was reportedly made for just six thousand dollars, which would be impressive if it didn't look like it was made for two hundred dollars, five hundred if you include the cost of the camera. Houses Ben and Mickey scavenge aren't even dusty, even the plants look like they've been watered.

But no-where is the cheapness more evident than in the zombies which never look like anything more than kids with a few smudges of fake blood.

Again, these two guys have supposedly been fighting hordes of zombies, but neither of them has so much as a blood stain on his clothes. In one scene where Ben traps Mickey in a room with a zombie to teach him the hard way he has to kill them to survive, Ben laughs at what a mess Mickey makes when he finally succeeds. This "mess" is clearly the aftermath of people strategically smudging blood on themselves and furniture. Mickey supposedly wacked the zombie in the head with a baseball bat but there's no stain that remotely resembles a splatter.

Some of the dialogue the two have is amusing. Ben teases Mickey for getting stuck on women in a way pretty strongly reminiscent of Randall teasing Dante in Clerks. In fact, Gardner tends to sound, when he speaks, halfway between Kevin Smith and Will Smith. The dynamic is also reminiscent of Shaun of the Dead and Gardner even lifts a bit from that film when Mickey is unable to say the "z" word.

This is a movie for people who don't like to take horror movies seriously. Not, like Shaun of the Dead, a loving parody with genuine characters but a movie made by and for people comfortable with only the most superficial of emotions. A consummate hipster film.

It's also a movie for Jeremy Gardner who could love it as probably no-one can. He includes a scene of himself bathing naked in a river, and an actually effective performance at the end where he agonises, wondering if Mickey has been killed. Of course, since the movie so continually softballs every threat, whether or not Mickey survives never seems like it's up to anyone but Gardner.

Twitter Sonnet #678

Cherub shoulder guards win the football stick.
Golden chocolate skullcaps bespeak delight.
People named after weather aren't called Rick.
Ropes dressed as squid're spun by fibre kite.
Bullhorn habits belong to bad buttons.
Hiring practices result in sin.
Candy stores never sold flavoured muttons.
There's nothing left in the recycling bin.
Tricks of sapphire light plant marigolds.
Strands of spider mead are drifting through space.
Falsely forsworn devils strain against moulds.
Withered wicker roots continue apace.
Phoney maize has made a thinner bourbon.
Greyish matter knew no zombie burden.
Tags: horror, jeremy gardner, movies, the battery, zombie

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