Another Hole in the Head 2013: Day 1 – “The Battery”

thebattery2Day one of the Another Hole in the Head Film Festival. There were three movies, yet I only made it to one, not that I’m complaining. It was well worth the trip across town to The Balboa Theatre, AHITH’s new home in the Richmond district (next week the festival moves to Japantown’s New People Cinema). Though not as convenient to get to as the more centralized Roxie Theatre of previous years, the atmosphere in this significantly chillier part of the city (heavy mist and fog) is pitch perfect for the mostly horror and sci-fi themed festival. Now on to the review.

four-stars4Best horror movie of the year – easily.

Best zombie movie of the 21st Century – you bet ya. (Pontypool (2008) and REC (2007) a close second and third).

Best baseball movie in where baseball is actually never seen being played? Unless I dozed off during the scene in Moneyball where Brad Pitt masturbates to a drooling zombie, I’d say Hell yeah!

Since my first viewing of the godfather of all zombie movies, Night of the Living Dead, when I was 9, hardly a year has gone by where I haven’t dedicated at least one full day’s worth of thought as to what a non-fictional zombie outbreak would actually look like. In fact when it comes to daydreaming (a rather favorite activity of mine) zombies are right there at the top of my goto fantasy Rolodex, along with performing at Madison Square Garden, kung-fu fighting an entire gang of evil doers, and living in a world where cartoons are real. Welcome to my mind. Scared yet?

I think this mindset automatically makes me as qualified as the next zombie geek to say what a realistic zombie outbreak would most resemble. So, at the risk of sounding completely silly – if that is even possible at this point – I’d say The Battery is the most realistic depiction of what would really happen should an actual zombie apocalypse begin. What, you don’t think it could happen? Okay, guess I’ll be seeing you on the dead side of the zombigaddon.

In not trying to reinvent the wheel, writer, director and star Jeremy Gardner has finally given this lover of the genre the zombie film that I’ve always been looking for yet didn’t even know I was looking for. The film follows Ben and Mickey, two surviving baseball players navigating their way through the backwoods of a zombie populated New England landscape. As far as plotting goes, believe me, that’s all you need to know. However, zombie aficionados will be pleased to know that many of the classic tropes already established by George A. Romero‘s zombies exist here as well. These zombies spread infection through biting, can be killed by rupturing their brains, and are of the slow moving variety.

The brilliance of this film lies in the execution. It’s character focused, stays true to its reality, offers legitimate laughs, scares, and drama, and most importantly/impressively, knows the value of spending elapsed time with scenes other Hollywood and unoriginal productions would deem uninteresting. Call me crazy, but I do appreciate a good genre film that also offers moments of reflection while showing characters do everyday seemingly mundane tasks like brushing their teeth. After all, isn’t it the little things in life that often mean the most? Gardner knows the value of accentuating such little moments, and it is when he does so that this film impacts the hardest. Well, that and whenever we have the good fortune of seeing a deadie get all Louisville Sluggered up.

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Categories: Another Hole In The Head, Reviews

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