Reel Asian 2018: One Cut of the Dead

This Review Contains SPOILERS

A film crew making a low budget zombie film end up getting attacked by real zombies in One Cut of the Dead. Chinatsu (Yuzuki Akiyama), Nao (Harumi Shuhama) and Ko (Kazuaki Nagaya) are in the midst of shooting a really bad zombie film in an abandoned World War II facility. However, the crazed director Higurashi (Takayuki Hamatsu) intends to the make this the most realistic zombie film ever, which includes shooting in a location that has real zombies that attack the cast an crew.

One Cut of the Dead is a very meta horror-comedy that ends up being a commentary on the filmmaking process. The first 37 minutes of the film is presented as a single take zombie survival tale. The film then proceeds to rewind back in time and provide a behind-the-scenes look at how this single-take zombie film was made, complete with all the mistakes and improvisation.

Those going into One Cut of the Dead expecting a straight up zombie film are going to be in for a surprise when it turns out that two thirds of the running time is spent with the film being meta behind-the-scenes comedy, starring the principal actors as fiction versions of themselves preparing to make a half hour one-take zombie film as a live broadcast for a newly launched zombie channel. While the change in tone in a bit jarring at first, it does become enjoyable watching the making of the zombie film, which ending up having a whole lot of things go wrong behind the scenes. This makes One Cut of the Dead a enjoyable meta take on zombie films.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).