Two former baseball-playing buddies hit the road after the zombie apocalypse. We first meet Mickey 1) smoking, so he’s is probably a loser, and 2) rocking out with some noise-suppressing earphones — making him guaranteed zomebie-bait. This guy has apparently leaned into too many pitches. Luckily (for him (but not the remaining human gene pool)), the batteries die before he does. Also very luckily for him, his friend comes running out of an abandoned house blasting away so that even Mickey can hear the shots, and they get away.
This guy is purely a slacker idiot. In the next scene, he decides to take a break lying in the middle of the road while his brother Ben scavenges a car for supplies. 1) Wouldn’t the grass be more comfortable, and 2) would any other survivors hesitate to drive right over what appeared to be a murderous zombie speed-bump in road? We’re already on the road to Idiocracy, but if this were the caliber of survivors, we would be really be Charlie-Hustling it (trying to stick to baseball metaphors, but it’s rough).
After Ben shoots a zombie soccer mom in the head, they acquire a car that works; so the apocalypse couldn’t have been too long ago — yet Mickey uses a Discman. While Ben is scavenging for useful materials in the garage, Mickey is collecting the panties of a dead teenage girl. That pretty much says it all. Ben is constantly doing something useful which Mickey is rocking out, sleeping, or staring at the dead teenage girl’s picture. This imbalance almost taints the film in the beginning, but it is engaging enough that it works as a slice of life in a new world.
One morning, Micky wakes up to find Ben gone fishing, and a teenage zombie girl trying to get in the car. Doing the only reasonable thing, he jerks off at her only slightly decaying boobs mashing up against the car window. Ben comes along and shoots her in the head, getting a pretty good laugh out of Mickey’s predicament.
That night, when they settle into an actual house, tired of saving Mickey’s ass, Ben tosses a zombie into Mickey’s bedroom. It’s messy and doesn’t really accomplish anything, but he finally makes a kill. Mickey is still depressed over a girl he has been talking to on the walkie-talkie who tells him to stay away, that The Orchard is not what they think it is. If Walking Dead has taught us anything, it is that he should take her advice.
As luck would have it, they encounter each other on the road and Mickey lets it slip that they had been talking on the walkies and that she had said “the orchard isn’t what you think ti is”. To be sure she isn’t followed, she shoots Ben in the leg. They wake up the next morning in the car surrounded by zombies clawing at the windows. For days they endure the moaning and beating against the windows, running out of food and water. And breathable air at the rate they’re smoking.
The movie is what it is, as things usually are. There is not a lot of zombie action, there is far less gore than on Walking Dead, the world is fairly clean given what has happened. In fact, it is kind of understandable that Mickey reacts to the zombie girl as he did — she wasn’t that far gone. I would have not put anything near that mouth (you know, they say a zombie dog’s mouth is cleaner), but otherwise . . .
But despite the almost complete dickishness of Mickey, the two have a good relationship with naturally flowing, funny dialogue. Ben is not without his flaws, either, insisting that they stay on the move. Mickey wants to settle in a nice place, but also longs for a girl named Annie that he meets on the walkie-talkie.
The desires of both contribute to their possible bad end (but mostly Mickey, let’s be honest). The ending is ambiguous if you want it to be, and leaves one big plot string completely dangling. Were guys making a $6,000 movie setting up a sequel? I don’t know, I can only say that it worked for me far better than I expected it to.
Rating: bats about .375.
- Title Analysis: A reference to the pitcher and catcher in baseball, of course, which were their former careers. Mickey’s Discman batteries are running down so he will have to face the world more directly. Their use also mirrors the breakdown of technology as there won’t be any new batteries being made for a while. Positive & negative personalities? I don’t see them that clearly defined. Good choice.
- I would have been happy with more Annie.
- One of the few movies where the score works with lyrics.
- Ben (Jeremy Gardner) also wrote and directed the movie.
- Where did all the people go? The guys are constantly finding immaculate homes with no one there.