This campy retelling of the Raising of Lazarus boasts the incomparable sight of Jesus’s favourite party trick backfiring tremendously, announcing the arrival of a swarm of ravenous zombies who are after more than just a communion wafer. The title is most likely a reference to Our Lord and Savior’s impressive fighting skills, although there comes a point where you might wonder if it has suffered an unfortunate mistranslation.
Yes, it’s a decidedly fishy display around the film’s halfway mark in which the irreverent humour that directors Adrián Cardona and David Muñoz had been aiming for finally begins to crystallise. More immediately pleasing are their gooey homages to the likes of The Evil Dead and the early works of Peter Jackson. The entire film is set in the unforgiving light of day, exposing each wrinkle of plaster bandage and drop of corn syrup as the cheap and cheerful stabs at special effects that they are. This works in the film’s favour, however, creating a fun and ironic tone that builds to a crimson-soaked finale.
As Jesus Christ, Marc Velasco plays it straight during an opening speech to his disciples. It may be wearily reminiscent of those dodgy biblical reenactments one can find at the far reaches of their Sky Digital channel listings, but that’s kind of the point. The bible is quoted almost word for word, although purists might want to look away before the first zombie attack. The scream this elicits is one of the film’s most amusing moments, while a subsequent attempt at resurrection (this time on a man still suspended from the noose that he has hung himself with) also gets a guilty laugh.
If the lashings of gore don’t offend, then the incarnation of Jesus on show just might. In the hands of Velasco, he’s a selfish, fish-brandishing blowhard who has no qualms about throwing a woman in the path of an approaching zombie. Such a hard-bitten attitude lends credibility to the chaotic finale, while his relationship with sidekick Judas is briefly touching.
The sacrilegious flourishes won’t be to everyone’s taste, but for the most part, Fist of Jesus is an entertaining ode to horror cinema. Cordona and Muñoz have no doubt benefited from the brisk pace that short films can offer as a medium, although the pair are determined to fund a feature length version. Fans can donate on the film’s official website, although it’s hard to imagine the result could provide anything this manic foray could not.