“Handling the Undead” offers a unique perspective on grief
Reading Time: 2 minutes Grotesque, yet beautiful, this film will have you on the edge of your seat and reaching for the tissues.
“Handling the Undead” (2024) takes place under the summer skies of Oslo, Norway, and weaves together the story of three families navigating their grief of losing a loved one. Suddenly, the citizens of Oslo are all experiencing migraines, there is an energy shift, and a mass power outage occurs. Pictured is one grandfather weeping at the grave of his recently deceased grandson, when suddenly he hears a clear knocking coming from the place where his grandson lies.
Featured at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, “Handling the Undead” (2024) is a unique film based on the book “Låt den Rätte Komma in,” or when translated to English, “Let the Right One In” by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist. As grotesque and stomach-turning as the story of “Handling the Undead” is, it forces the viewer to directly confront the pain of losing someone so close, such as a wife, mother, or child. The horror film also prompts the question, “What would you do for the ones you love?”
Cinematically, the film is beautiful. The still shots are frame-worthy and the soundtrack pairs perfectly. With a story that begins with a feeling as painfully familiar as grief, this film hooks the audience from the beginning. It starts with shots that feel as though they are arms-length away. That feeling from the beginning continues to linger throughout the film, but due to increasingly distant shots, it feels more disconnected. With a subject that is very real, the film being shot from an outside perspective makes it feel less personal to the audience.
The essence of love is what stands out in this horror film. These emanating feelings of love and loss are typically lacking in other horror films. The three families are all coated in heavy grief, and in the beginning, they are navigating their lives without the ones they loved. One can feel an underlying grief-caused tension between some of the characters. Then, when the migraine spreads across Oslo, and the dead are reanimated, there is a sense of relief that comes from the families shown. They welcome the ones they lost back into their open arms, despite it not feeling the same as before.
Overall, “Handling the Undead” (2024) is steeped in the essence of love despite it being a horror film. The level of mystery and suspense will have one on the edge of their seat. Parts will have one in awe, while others might have one squirming. Finally, despite the overall premise being about the dead becoming reanimated, this film will tug at one’s heartstrings.