INDIEWIRE: Renate Reinsve and Anders Danielson Lie Star in a Different Kind of Zombie Movie

By Kate Erbland



“The Worst Person in the World,” Horror Version, this one is not. For their first post-“Worst Person” team-up, stars Renate Reinsve and Anders Danielson Lie have taken on a human story of a different cast: a zombie tale. What’s more about life than a story about life after death?

Directed by first-time feature filmmaker Thea Hvistendahl, Reinsve and Danielson Lie both star in “Handling the Undead,” the filmmaker’s adaptation of author John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel of the same name. For fans of the writer’s work, like both “Let the Right One In,” the film and the show, “Handling the Undead” should feel both familiar and welcome. (The author also assisted Hvistendahl with her script.)

The film follows a trio of Norwegian families as they grapple with their beloved (and very recently dead) members suddenly coming back to life (including Reinsve’s Anna, whose son returns to her after a tragedy, and Danielsen Lie’s David, whose wife is revived after a horrifying accident).

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, during which Hvistendahl and Reinsve unpacked the feature in an exclusive interview with IndieWire. The first-time feature filmmaker was slightly reticent to term it a “horror film” — at least as we normally think of them.

“It’s the everlasting question, because I see it as a horror [film], but from the script stages, when I was talking to my crew and was like, ‘Yeah, it’s a horror,’ they were like, ‘No, it’s not,’” Hvistendahl told IndieWire. “I think the horror genre or how people see it can be very narrow. I do think that only saying ‘horror’ is not the right word, because you would maybe expect something else. It’s a drama with a horror premise or melancholic horror, it’s probably a drama horror, but it’s such a boring thing to be in the middle.”

For Reinsve, the role of Anna provided a deep emotional outlet. She told IndieWire in January, “I was very moved by Anna, her withheld grief, her not being able to connect with her own emotions or her surroundings after she lost her son. And meeting him in a new state, where he’s neither alive nor dead teaches her to connect to him through hope and actually let him go when the reality of his state sinks in. It is so universal that our emotions are not always clear to us in big moments and the only way is through, but that is also a deep and profound struggle.”

Check out the first trailer and a new poster for the film, both IndieWire exclusives, below. Neon will release “Handling the Undead” exclusively at IFC Center in New York on Friday, May 31, with an expansion to follow on Friday, June 7 in select cities, including Los Angeles.


Film info

Film title



Thea Hvistendahl


Horror drama


98 min


EUR 4.5M