Behind the amateurish music in this poorly constructed trailer for independent drama Battlecreek lies a quaint, honest and powerful looking film. The coming of age romantic drama is a character study of Henry (played by Bill Skarsgård), who suffers from a rare skin disease which means he must avoid sunlight. Henry lives his life at night in isolation, spending his time painting, working the night shift at the gas station and swimming in the creek under the moonlight. His sheltered life in a small Southern town with his overprotective mother (Paula Malcomson) dwindles his confidence. One night a mysterious girl Alison (Claire van der Boom) arrives in town, with her car broken down, and he takes a liking to her. She acts as an outside force, opening Henry up to a life he never dreamt possible.
The project is directed by Alison Eastwood, the daughter of Clint Eastwood who has spent her time as an actress, fashion designer and model. This is her second venture into directing following Rails & Ties, a small drama about the relationships that are forged between the survivors of a train crash starring Kevin Bacon and Marcia Gay Harden in 2007. The film, distributed by long-time partners of Clint Eastwood, only managed to gross a total of $22,000 worldwide, perhaps showing that the iconic surname isn’t enough to ensure success. Battlecreek, which has just been released in the US, seems to be receiving very little attention, so here’s hoping it gets a wider audience as it looks to be an independent gem.
The vampire-esque attributes of having to avoid the sun at all costs and living a solitary existence are were the similarities end between Bill Skarsgård’s role in Netflix’s Hemlock Grove and the much gentler Henry in Battlecreek. It is certainly a far cry from the murderous clown he plays in the upcoming remake of the classic horror film It. In Hemlock Grove he plays a vampire, the self-important and ferocious Roman Godfrey, heir to his family fortune, a sort of vampire Patrick Bateman. The Swedish born actor’s pale skin makes him a perfect fit for both roles physically, and it will be intriguing to see his talents flourish in a role opposite to his most well-known English-speaking character. It’s quite interesting to note that, for a film set in Southern United States, the three main characters hail from Sweden, Ireland (Malcomson) and Australia (van der Boom). The cast also includes Delroy Lindo, Toby Hemingway, Jeremy Sande, Dana Powell and Jordan Slalom. This is the second original screenplay from writer Anthea Anka.
Battlecreek was released in the US on February 1st, and there is no word as of yet to it’s release anywhere else. You can watch the trailer below.
Claire van der Boom and Bill Skarsgård in Battlecreek
Bill Skarsgård in Battlecreek