Review: One Cut of the Dead (2017)

Japanese with English Subtitles

Having heard a lot of hype for this low-budget cult horror/comedy from Japanese director Shinichirou Ueda so i was glad to get the chance to check it out for myself.

ONE CUT OF THE DEAD first appears to be a one-take indie zombie film… but something magical happens at 37 minutes in: the film’s director yells cut and – throwing all cinematic conventions and viewer expectations to the wind – it transforms into a charming story about the power of family, the passion that goes into making movies, and, in its stunning final sequence, a uproarious meta re-examination of the film’s opening single take and how it came to be!”

Without spoiling it too much – there is a massive shift change at 37 minutes that offers something entirely different and will keep you watching through the credits. It starts out as a fun, low budget though formulaic zombie flick that uses the found-footage trope of the filming of a horror movie that goes wrong as the cast and crew stumble upon real zombies. In an interesting twist the tyrannical director (Takayuki Hamatsu) of the ‘film within a film’ has deliberately led them to a ‘haunted’ site with hopes of bringing the actor’s real fear and terror to his camera. What happens after the credits initially role at 37 minutes in can only be described has pure indie film genius – but you will have to watch for yourself to find out why! The end credit scene which shows how the film was actually made it particularly genius. The ‘found footage’ and predominately hand-held cinematography is relatively well done and fits in perfectly with the film’s story.

The cast all do a very reasonable job here in what must have been a very demanding shoot  – although the standout is our lead Hamatsu; who perfectly nails the role of ‘Average-at-best’ director who could possibly be just one day away from greatness – if only he could pull it off. There is also a great cast of quirky supporting character’s such as Harumi Shuhama’s retired actress who is brought out for one last film.

4.5/5 – An instant low-budget cult classic – Don’t Stop Filming!

Shudder, in association with Variance Films brought One Cut Of The Dead to theatres for limited one-night screening across the USA & Canada prior to its debut on Shudder.

In the UK – it is available on Amazon.

A big budget re-make of the film has also been rumoured for international markets.


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