02nd Jan2019

‘One Cut of the Dead’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Mao, Shuhama Harumi, Takayuki Hamatsu , Yuzuki Akiyama, Kazuaki Nagaya, Hiroshi Ichihara, Manabu Hosoi, Syuntaro Yamazaki, Shinichiro Osawa, Yoshiko Takehara, Miki Yoshida, Sakina Asamori, Ayana Goda, Yuzuki Akiyama | Written and Directed by Shinichiro Ueda


One Cut of the Dead opens in a run-down, abandoned warehouse where a film crew are making a zombie film…Yet, this is no ordinary warehouse. It’s been said that it’s the site of where military experiments took place… Out of nowhere, real zombies arrive and terrorize the crew!

A low-budget zombie movie shot in one take, about a film crew shooting a low budget zombie movie in one take, sounds bad. Add the fact that the indie film crew stumbles across real-life zombies, and One Cut of the Dead sounds worse. But this isn’t just a zombie movie, or even a one-take stunt. Instead, it’s Japan’s smartest comedy of the year, a father-daughter story, a movie about the value of perservance, and a meta-puzzle box that unpacks itself onscreen, one severed limb at a time.

It’s I Survived a Zombie Holocaust all over again isn’t it? At least it seems to be as the events of One Cut of the Dead unfold… But then something happens. The film we’re clearly expecting to be a cliched look at a zombie film within a zombie apocalypse flips the script – literally – and Shinichiro Ueda’s film becomes less about zombies and more about people: specifically about a director, his wife and the daughter to whom he is becoming estranged. Ending up as one of the sweetest, warm-hearted “zombie” movies you’ll ever see. Oh, and did I mention the film also features the kind of zany, off the wall comedy that Far East film fans know and love: scatalogical humour, slapstick, insane characters, crazy behaviour and more!

It will be interesting to see how audiences take to One Cut of the Dead, after all this is actually three “films” in one, each requiring the audience’s patience in different ways; and each segment could prove to be THE one divise point. Especially if those watching don’t have the patience to see the film through to its conclusion, however for those that do stick with Shinichiro Ueda’s film will be richly rewarded – even moreso if you’re a genre fan who’s interest in films extends to the making of them as well, as you’ll find a LOT to love about One Cut of the Dead’s third act…

**** 4/5

One Cut of the Dead is on limited release across the UK from Friday January 4th, courtesy of Third Window Films.


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