Things go badly for a hack director and film crew shooting a low budget zombie film in an abandoned WWII Japanese facility when they are attacked by real zombies.
Release Date: 11-2017 | MPAA Rating: Not rated | Runtime: 96 mins
Directed by: Shin’ichirô Ueda
One Cut of the Dead Review
Can a movie review consist simply of three words: Go see it.
Fine. You want more. But be aware that One Cut of the Dead is a tough movie to talk about. It’s actually a movie where it’s easier to talk about what it isn’t.
One Cut of the Dead is a horror movie that isn’t really a horror movie; it’s a zombie movie that isn’t really about zombies.
Sometimes reviewers don’t want to say too much about a story for plot reasons. Because there’s a thrill to be had in the ride of the moment. Reveals to be had and secrets to be told. That’s partly the case here.
What we can talk about is the structure. It’s a movie that very clearly has three parts. The first part is the one that is easiest to talk about. On the set of a low budget zombie movie, a zombie outbreak occurs. The entire first part is about thirty minutes long and is all filmed in a single take.
It is in the second and third parts where things change. Specifically how we view that first part. We are given more context about what we saw in the first part. Our information about the first part expands. This new information also changes how we view the first part. And the best part is that the first part is continually enriched.
Let’s talk broadly about some of the things One Cut of the Dead is. It is an ode to filmmaking, creatives, and the Herculean team effort and support system of friends and family that makes it all possible. Because despite the established presence of auteur theory that has cast a long shadow over filmmaking, making movies, especially low budget horror movies, has always been a team sport (just ask George Romero).
It’s also a puzzle. Everything that is happening does so for a reason. Things are being set-up to be paid off down the line. If it feels cheap and hokey, it is supposed to. If something feels off but you can’t quite put your finger on it, it is supposed to. The final moments are an act of triumph. You will have already recognized the shape of the puzzle and the present struggle to make the pieces fit. And when the final piece of the puzzle is locked into place, you too will shout POM!
Brian Lindenmuth is the former non-fiction editor of Spinetingler Magazine and the former editor of Snubnose Press. He likes both kinds of books, fiction and non-fiction. He blogs about subtitled TV shows and movies at One Inch Tall Movies