arthouse

[Movie Review] One Cut of the Dead (2017) ★★★★★

Nao

One Cut of the Dead is a hilariously funny and brilliantly smart fresh take on the zombie genre.


One Cut of the Dead is a Japanese zombie comedy. But it’s anything but a standard zombie comedy. It’s so much more than that. It has an unconventional and smart structure, a surprising setup and a big twist that turns everything upside down. It’s made up of three different acts that fit together perfectly, each part using a different tone and different kind of humor to eventually create a masterpiece of passionate horror comedy.  It’s something completely different and fresh and original. It’s brilliantly done and you’ll laugh your head off for sure. 

Sometimes you just come across something awesome and amazing and extraordinary, and One Cut of the Dead is definitely just that!


Plot

The cast and crew of a low-budget zombie horror movie film called ‘One Cut of the Dead’ shoot their film at an abandoned water filtration plant. But when the director isn’t pleased with the performances, he secretly performed a ritual to enhance the realism. The building was allegedly used to experiment on people and now there’s a curse on it. When the crew starts to turn into real zombies, the director is very excited but now the cast has to run and fight for their lives.


Why you should watch it

The premise of One Cut of the Dead doesn’t seem that original, but… There’s a huge twist waiting for you. The film is divided into three different acts. While the first one is a horror comedy in which the director is the mad artist who will sacrifice anything to get a good shot, while everybody else is running and screaming for their lives, the other two acts are a big surprise. You’ll have to go see for yourself. 

One Cut of the Dead has a brilliant structure that is both a parody as an homage to the zombie genre, but also to film making itself. It shows the real passion that comes with film making and if that passion shines through, real magic happens. 

The film ‘One Cut of the Dead’ is one long take of 37 minutes (for real!), hence the title. An accomplishment in itself. It feels like a mockumentary and a behind the scenes when everything turns into zombie madness. Although this long take is well-done, it isn’t always well-crafted and feels a bit off sometimes. Not without reason though. After the 37 minutes the rest of the film only has yet to begin. 

While the second act can feel a bit as if it slows down the pace, it has a clear function to set up the third act that is comprised of the most insanely funny scenes I have ever seen. It is really a laughing out loud film with hilarious moments, over the top situations and great fun. And the best part is the inception feel, that mainly focuses on how difficult it can be to shoot a film, the passion with which it is made and the fun that comes with it. That third act also reflects in a meta-perspective the real shooting of the film, that took ‘only’ 6 times the 37 minute long take, which was an exhausting effort, but with a lot more comical and hilarious situations. 

It’s a brilliant film, with a well-crafted and smart setup and genius structure that will surprise you and that really shows love for filmmaking, that makes all the difference and creates something new. It has great music, fantastic editing and brilliant shots and angles to create a perfect illusion, with all kinds of humor rolled into a great film. 

There’s nothing much more to say without spoiling anything, but I very strongly recommend seeing this film. It’s one of the best films in recent years that deserves a big audience. 


My favorite part

When I think about the film, I cannot help but smile, even laugh out loud a bit. Especially the sound guy who just ‘has to go’, and Nao who goes ‘Pom!’ are hilarious. It has slapstick humor combined with witty humor, some dark humor and even gag jokes that are too funny. And it’s all evenly funny and fits perfectly together to create a passionate project that will for sure bring you a bloody good time.


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★★

Fun factor: ★★★★★

Epic factor: ★★★★★

Gore factor: ★★★★★

Originality factor: ★★★★★

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★


Cast and crew

One Cut of The Dead is directed and written by Shin’ichirô Ueda. It stars Takayuki Hamatsu (Director Higurashi), Yuzuki Akiyama (Chinatsu), Harumi Shuhama (Nao), Kazuaki Nagaya (Ko), Hiroshi Ichihara (Kasahara) and Mao (Mao). 

Duration: 97 minutes. Music: Nobuhiro Suzuki, Kailu Nagai. Cinematography: Tsuyoshi Sone. Edited by: Shin’ichirô Ueda. Produced by: Koji Ichihashi. Production company: Enbu Seminar. 


Check the trailer below

(Spoiler-free trailer)