HANDLING THE UNDEAD is a slow-burn zombie drama from Norway but with minimal dialogue. A universal and completely new take on zombies. Based on a book by Let Me In author. Read our Handling the Undead movie review here!

HANDLING THE UNDEAD is a new zombie horror-drama with very slow-burn storytelling. It will not be for everyone and the story is much more focused on the change from being dead to undead than the crazy zombies. It’s from Norway (org. title: Håndtering av udøde) but there’s minimal dialogue.

With a runtime of less than 100 minutes, it doesn’t drag on forever, which would’ve been too hard to watch anyway. The slow-burn element is hardly foreign for movies based on books by John Ajvide Lindqvist. He also wrote Let Me In – the story about a child vampire and her human father.

Continue reading our Handling the Undead movie review below. Find it in limited US theaters from May 31, 2024.

A hot summer awakens something

The story of Handling the Undead begins on a hot summer day in Oslo. During the late evening, something strange happens in the heat. Power goes out, a weird sound hurts everyone, and strange accidents occur.

Then the dead mysteriously awakens – whether in a grave, at a morgue, or even still lying in a hospital bed. These three settings are what we see happen to the three undead characters whose families we follow.

All three families are thrown into turmoil when their dearly departed are suddenly back. But are their loved ones actually back? Who or what are these undead bodies? And what do they want?

One family sees the mother reawaken shortly after having died in a car accident. She’s still at the hospital and the father hasn’t even had a chance to tell the children yet. Now he needs to tell them that she isn’t dead, but she was, and he’s not quite sure what she is now.

Another family consists of two elderly women. We’ve just witnessed an elderly woman at the funeral of the love of her life that very same day. Now she turns up at their home again. It’s both heartbreak and divine intervention… and something entirely else. But what?!

Finally, a grandfather is sitting at the gravesite of his grandchild when he hears knocking from underneath the fresh soil atop the grave. His daughter (the mother of the dead boy) is caught up in a deep depression and the grandfather sees this as a chance to save her as well.

Handling the Undead – Review | Slow-burn Zombie-drama

The universal language of zombies

While the movie is from Norway, you don’t have to worry about a language barrier. As we all know, zombies don’t tend to talk and there really isn’t much dialogue. For the vast part of the movie, you could even watch it without subtitles or dubbing and you’d still understand everything.

Handling the Undead is a very literal title as it describes the issues three different households are dealing with. It’s an intriguing new take on zombies that still manages to focus on an element that appears in many zombie stories.

The fact that people you know and love can die, but then come back as something else. Something undead – or put plainly: A Zombie.

What do you do? Try to kill them again or just enjoy having them around again?!

Watch Handling the Undead in select theaters now!

The Norwegian filmmaker Thea Hvistendahl is the writer and director of Handling the Undead (org. title: Håndtering av udøde). It is an adaptation of the novel by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist. He also wrote Låt den rätte komma in (2008) which was remade in the US as Let Me In (2010).

The US remake was written and directed by Matt Reeves. It starred very young Chloë Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee. Most recently, it was also made into a Showtime series titled Let the Right One In. I’m saying all of this just to highlight that his stories tend to hit a spot that is universal.

This goes even more for Handling the Undead, though I think any remake or series version would be altered quite a bit. This version is desperately heartbreaking which is beautiful in its own way, but also tough to watch. I don’t expect ever to watch this movie again, but I’m still glad to have watched it.

Handling the Undead is a horror-drama in the sense that it’s a deep drama with elements of horror. Stories of grief, loss, and hope in a time of chaos and with no chance to control anything.

Handling the Undead is out in limited theaters from May 31, 2024.


‍Director: Thea Hvistendahl
Writers: John Ajvide Lindqvist, Thea Hvistendahl
Cast: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Bjørn Sundquist, Bente Børsum, Bahar Pars, Inesa Dauksta


On a hot summer day in Oslo, the dead mysteriously awaken, and three families are thrown into chaos when their deceased loved ones come back to them. Who are they, and what do they want? 

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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