The micro-budget indie zombie film, The Battery, was released last month via VOD platforms and quickly gained popularity.
However, this little gem, written and directed by Jeremy Gardner, may have been missed by some people. Don’t let it slip through your fingers – it’s definitely worth checking out. I wrote a review for it back in April, which was more than positive.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jeremy regarding the film, and how exactly he made such a great story for so little. Check out the scoop below!
BD: First, how did you make this incredible movie for only $6k?
Jeremy Gardner: I wish I could say we made the most of every dollar by planning every shot and every day to a T, but it was quite the contrary. The entire production was very seat-of-the pants. The movie only ended up getting a start date because I arbitrarily picked one to force it along. Adam Cronheim was cast barely a month before shooting, the props were bought and gathered two days before. We were trying to make complicated squibs ourselves, on set, the day we were to use them. The schedule was lopsided to accommodate extras and other actors and location availability. Everything was rushed and always up in the air as to whether it would work or not. That said, the script was conceptualized to be very simple and to work almost like a stage play, so most of the money went to food and lodging anyway. I hope it doesn’t feel that way, but when you’re trying to make something with a budget as small as ours, it tends to have more dialogue and less heads exploding. Bottom line, the way we got it finished was by having an absolutely dedicated, sleep-in-the-mud crew, and by making sure that we nailed the scenes that were absolutely crucial to moving the story forward. Almost everything that could have been cut ultimately was.
JG: The original seed of the idea stemmed from an audition video/short film I made for a horror contest years ago. It was a first person, found-footage account of two friends filming their day to day lives in a post-zombie world. I couldn’t shake the idea and ended up expanding it. The very first image that came to me was of two men with packs, stuffed to bursting, walking down a long highway flanked by forest. One of the men walks ahead to check an abandoned car and the other one collapses on the road, exhausted. That was the first visualization I had of the dichotomy between the two: The take-charge constantly moving shark of a man, and the wheezing, exhausted, uncomfortable man. Stuck together. That scene actually exists in the finished film, but it has been reduced to one shot in the opening credits.
BD: My favorite scene is when Ben and Mickey find the toothbrushes and toothpaste. It is almost as if they are in ecstasy – what was your original plan for that scene, as it seems to last a long while?
JG: In almost every iteration of the script, that scene was there. It was one of the earliest examples of a motif I keep coming back to in the movie: waiting. I just felt there was so much that could be gleaned about the characters from just watching them brush their teeth: How long it’s been. How good it feels. How much they’ve lost. The way simple creature comforts can lighten a dark mood or strengthen a weak man. I knew early on I was going to fight about the length of that shot, but it was very important to me that we watch the whole process. I think audiences have been programmed to assume something as banal as someone brushing their teeth is going to be skipped or at least cut down in a movie, but I wanted to use that scene to establish the concept of waiting with the characters.
BD: How close do you think you are to Ben if you were thrown into a zombie apocalypse?
JG: I think I’d be a bit of both Ben and Mickey. I’m a fisherman’s son, I was raised in the woods in Florida, around snakes and spiders and gators, but I also had air conditioning and Nintendo and HBO growing up. So, I’d like to think that some of my father’s man-of-the-land instincts would shine through, but I imagine I’d get pretty whiny and uncomfortable, too.
BD: Do you have more films planned?
JG: Nope that was it. I got it out of my system. Back to waiting tables now. No, of course I have more films planned. I’m about halfway through a script right now, another character-centric horror movie, this one a monster movie. I have a long-gestating psycho-sexual thriller about a man who falls in love with a king cobra that he keeps in his ex-girlfriend’s old bedroom. And I’ve got ideas for a sequel to the Battery called The Orchard that I can’t imagine will ever see the light of day. It would be my Desperado to The Battery‘s El Mariachi. Bigger, more polished, but most importantly, stand-alone. You wouldn’t have to have seen The Battery to understand or enjoy it. That’s the only way I can even entertain the idea of making it.
Check out The Battery at www.thebatterymovie.com. All the VOD outlets are on the front page.