You can read my review of this movie here, and you can read about the “What Comes Next” series here.
As always, there will be spoilers. So if you haven’t seen this movie, you’ll need so before reading this article. And I highly recommend that you watch this.
Before I get into the meat of this post, I want to explore Ben’s escape from the car at the end of the film. Ben tells us (well, he really tells Annie – the woman who lives in the zombie-free colony – over the walkie talkie) how he is going to escape the car by finally telling the story of how he and Mickey escaped from the house they had been trapped in:
“We just opened the door. They tried to pile in one side, and we just went out the other.”
It’s a novel idea, but I’m not entirely sure how well it would work. When surrounding an object, zombies don’t really respond like lemmings. Well, perhaps they do, but not fast-acting lemmings. Very slow lemmings. So, while I could possibly buy that this could work with a house (lots of room to maneuver and all that), I can’t see it working with a station wagon. We see him opening the rear hatch (hatch? I feel like it’s called a hatch), and the next scene is him on the road, running (more like hobbling, really) from the zombies. With the car completely surrounded by zombies, I just don’t think there would’ve been a door vacated by zombies before the entire car was filled and Ben was bitten.
(Not to mention the fact that a crowd of zombies groaning in one spot for a couple days was sure to attract the attention of more zombies. By the time Ben tried his escape, there should have been hundreds of zombies, not dozens.)
Still, that’s how the movie ends, so that’s our starting point.
The last image we see of Ben is him hobbling from the zombies he just narrowly escaped. It doesn’t look good. He’s sleep deprived, malnourished (due to living on a diet of canned tuna and urine) and can’t move very quickly due to the gunshot wound in his leg. With an undead horde about 10 feet behind him, it’s quite possible that his story ends a few minutes after the credits roll. He can’t keep up his already plodding pace - inspiring Rock Plaza Central song be damned – and the zombies devour him on the road.
But there’s also a chance he gets away. If there’s one thing we know about Ben, it’s that he’s a ruthless bastard. Plus, these were his last words to Annie in that walkie talkie conversation:
“If it [escaping the car] doesn’t work this time, I’m just gonna put a bullet in my head. But if it does, I’m gonna come and put one in yours. I’ll see ya soon.”
He seemed to be having fun with the zombie apocalypse until he had to put a round in his best friend’s head. After that, his mind unraveled faster than the baseball in his hand. His voice got rough. His eyes were empty. He had two things on his mind: survival and revenge. He was already on his way to survival (in his mind, escaping the car would be the hardest part of the plan, and he seemed to have pulled that off pretty well), which means his mind was already working on revenge.
He knows that the colony couldn’t be far. They were in walkie talkie range. So, while finding it would be difficult, it certainly wouldn’t be impossible.
The bigger question is what happens once he gets there? We don’t know how big the colony is, but I’m going to assume – based on no evidence whatsoever – that there are somewhere between 20-50 people there. We know they’re careful. We know they have guns. And, since Ben threatened Annie over the walkie talkie, they’ll be on the lookout for trouble (even if they don’t think he’ll actually find them, they’ll still be on alert for a couple weeks).
We also know that Ben is a good shot, and more than willing to kill someone if his own survival is at stake. He shot a guy from around 20 yards, then had no qualms at walking up and shooting him in the head (because Ben knows that the line between life and death can be as thin as a double-tap). But he’s also smart. He won’t run at the colony guns blazing. He’ll formulate a plan. Separate and terminate. Like a fatter, bearded version of Jim from 28 Days Later.
Even though I’d like to say that he would be able to pull it off, I just don’t think he’d be able to do it. He may be able to take out a few of them, but not everyone in the colony. Not if they’re prepared for him. I imagine it’s walled off, and they would have guards. Jim had been on the inside. Knew the ins and outs. Ben has no idea what he’s getting himself into. Eventually, he would go down in a blaze of glory. Maybe he is able to take Annie out as he’s being plugged, Sonny Corleone style.
A crazed, bearded ex-ballplayer storming a walled-off community in search of revenge. I would absolutely watch that movie.
Of course, he could also just lay in wait until Annie sets foot outside the colony and take his revenge at that point. That would probably be a better option. Less dramatic, but it would get the job done.
Good luck on your murderous endeavors, Ben.