Sometimes, in one’s desperate search for something to watch, you may find yourself eenie-meenie-miney-moeing your way into a movie you haven’t heard of, and therefore have no expectations for. With the (free) movie streaming app Tubi and its surprisingly wide library of B horror movies and hidden gems, where does A Zombie Exorcism (or Opstandelsen, as it’s known in its country of origin, Denmark) stand?
What Is It About?
Directed by Casper Haugegaard, A Zombie Exorcism or Opstandelsen is a 2010 zombie horror flick about three siblings who must navigate their escape from a church during a funeral service for their brother that becomes overrun by zombies.
What Did I Like About the Film?
While the production values make it clear that this was a low-budget affair, that can’t be said for the efforts throughout the film. The acting is pretty serviceable, which is saying a lot when I’m watching B-horror, and there’s plenty of gore on display to quench my thirst. Despite having a modest budget of DKK 50,000 (around USD 8, 221.11) that’s listed on IMDb, it looks like they really made the most with what they had. The zombies are pretty ferocious and bloody the whole time, and a lot of them have gaping wounds meticulously constructed using practical effects.
It starts with a dark and foreboding atmosphere, and immediately throws you into an ongoing funeral service – clearly the movie doesn’t waste much time to the benefit of the viewer. Throughout the fast-paced 50-minute runtime, there are no bright spots of hope for our characters. Things only go from dark, darker, to darkest. Despite the temptation to go into campy territory that’s bound to happen in low-budget films, the narrative sticks to its guns and continuously pits our characters into hopelessly nihilistic situations. I think it’s also pretty unique to have the entire film take place throughout a church during a funeral, as I don’t think we see a lot of films (zombie films, in particular) with this setting.
As mentioned this is a pretty quick feature, with the film running around 50 minutes. This pretty much means the film does not waste time getting into the nitty gritty. After a brief and gloomy start, it’s off to the races. Essentially, I’d say this is the perfect runtime for the kind of flick Opstandelsen sets out to be.
Ultimately, the manic carnage and mayhem left me pretty satisfied. It felt like it had the same spirit and gutsiness that Sam Raimi and co. had when they first set out to make the original The Evil Dead. That “let’s make a movie!” can-do attitude is as evident there as it is here.
What Didn’t I Like About The Film?
Of course, The Evil Dead was a cultural phenomenon and it’s a concoction of things we haven’t seen before. It’s not quite the case here. I very much liked the film but I would imagine some picky viewers might want a bit more to chew on than “zombies inexplicably rise from the grave.”
Viewers might also take issue that there’s really not a lot to write home about, acting-wise. (But c’mon, really?)
Finally, as I’ve mentioned several times throughout this review, this is a low budget film and it’s safe to say the film is proud of that. I can get into that brazen attitude. That said, the lack of a bigger budget does lead to a lack of visual polish may deter those who are not use to the aesthetic.
Where Can I Find It?
Zombie Exorcism is free on Tubi, otherwise you can rent it through YouTube or Google Play Store.
A Zombie Exorcism or Opstandelsen (which I think is a much better and less campy title, no?) was a blast of a zombie film. It doesn’t quite break new ground but it’s got a lot of spirit that is usually found in low-budget film. With gore aplenty and a lean runtime, I could not ask for more.
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Dustin is a horror fan and sometimes short story writer who hails from the Philippines. He likes a lot of the horror genre but usually goes for slashers and arthouse/slowburn stuff. Currently, he’s trying to make up for lost time in the horror literature world by digesting as many horror books as he can.