By Jerome Reuter
As I’ve mentioned before, the zombie has been gentrified. Whenever I hear about another film being released about the undead, I roll my eyes. For a very long time, I was convinced the ship had long sailed on this particular sub genre. I was convinced nothing new could be done. Apparently, I was wrong. The Battery , released in 2012, is a breath of fresh air. This isn’t a zombie film, this is an Art House film with zombies.
Instead of being a CGI laden orgy of quick moving ghouls, its focus is on the survivors, and their struggles to exist. It follows 2 individuals, a pitcher and catcher of a baseball team. What makes this duo so unique is that they are complete polar opposites of one another. They represent the human psyche, logic and emotion. The catcher, is human logic, the common sense of what needs to be done to survive, the aggressor. The pitcher is emotion, the pacifist, the one who craves the creature comforts of a stability.
Using baseball as the common link between the two, puts emphasis on one of the key themes of the film. The necessity to work together as a team, as well as holding on to something of your old life before chaos ensued. Throughout the film, the two are at constant odds with one another over what to do next. The few times the two of them seem to bond is over a friendly game of catch. By taking a break from the plot, it reminds them, and the audience of a happier time.
A great amount of the mastery of this film lies in what isn’t shown. Do I have to say it again? Real horror is always what you don’t see. So many details are discussed, but not shown. Such as when or how the zombie apocalypse began. Their backstory is touched upon and explained, but it’s up to the audience to connect the dots themselves, and use their imaginations. Much like Funny Games, much of the violence takes place off screen. This shifts the focus from the dead, to the living.
What sets this film apart from a lot of others that have come out in recent years, is the camerawork. Shot using one camera, the cinematography contains many techniques used by Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. Vast depth of field shots, as well as long shots that maintain the same position for several minutes. Contained with in the film are also subtle homages to cult horror films such as Dawn Of The Dead and Hell Of The Living Dead. You’ll even find a bit of black comedy that helps contrast with some of the more dramatic sequences. There’s something here for everyone. This is what The Walking Dead tries to accomplish, this film gets it right.