Risen (2021) poster

Risen (2021)


USA. 2021.


Director/Screenplay/Producer – Eddie Arya, Photography – Susan Lumsdon, Music – Phillip J. Faddoul, Visual Effects Supervisor – Stuart White, Production Design – Irma Gustaityte-Calabrese.


Nicole Schalmo (Lauran Stone), Alan Flower (Ramsey), Ken Welsh (Jim Stone), Jack Campbell (Colonel Emmerich), Kenneth Trujillo (David Santiago), Sheree De Costa (Governor), Paul Anthony Rogers (The President), Zahlee Moore (Valerie Windsor), Dominic Stone (Rob Windsor), Izzy Bridger (Sarah Windsor), Lily Brown Griffiths (Meryl Windsor), Venee Porter (Karen McKnight), Olga Olshansky (Olga Petrov)


US government representatives insist that Lauran Stone, the author of several books on exobiology, come away to help them. She learns how a meteorite strike has hit the town of Badger, Iowa, killing everything in a fifty-mile radius. One of the bodies is brought in for examination and they are startled when it returns to life on the autopsy table. Several other bodies similarly revive but the risen dead are uncommunicative. In her search for answers, Lauran finds that the risen react to a tiny plant she found at the meteor strike area. The plant then abruptly grows to giant-size. In communication with one of the risen, Lauran learns that they are aliens come to Earth and are wanting to convert the environment to support their own kind.

Risen – not to be confused with Risen (2016), the Christian film of recet vintage – was the third film for director/writer Eddie Arya. Arya had previously made two thrillers with The Navigator (2014) and The System (2016), although neither appear to be widely seen.

As the film opens and Nicole Schalmo is flown into a mysterious zone to deal with something where it becomes increasingly clear it is alien in origin, you get a distinct vibe of Arrival (2016), even if the nature of the aliens is a very different one. With the resurrected dead, you also get a sense of films like They Came Back (2004) or The Plague (2006) where people have been resurrected or are being controlled for enigmatic purpose.

Alan Flower and Nicole Schalmo in Risen (2021)
The resurrected, alien-inahbited Alan Flower (foreground) and exobioogist Lauran Stone (Nicole Schalmo) (bg) in the centre of the alien meteorite impact zone

While clearly operating on a low budget, Eddie Arya does a fair job of creating a sense of something very mysterious occurring. A good deal is built up around the site of the meteorite impact, of the dead returning to life, of the giant plant towering over the town. The sight of Alan Flower with glowing blue eyes seems cheesy but the scenes where he talks have something otherworldly to them.

Thereafter, Risen seems to go all over the map. Eddie Arya doesn’t seem to quite expand out on the epic-sized ideas he has created in the build-up. The film sidetracks off at a tangent for a long section where we follow Nicole Schalmo wandering through the alien-affected landscape and back to her childhood. This does tie together in an interesting ending, although in a way that never quite gives the film the satisfactory wrap-up it needs.

Trailer here

Actors: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Themes: , , , , ,