Representing such morbid concepts like disease, doing the unspeakable for the sake of survival and obviously mortality, zombies are easily one of the most grisly of all the movie monsters. The zombie is also a trope that borders on exhausted. Given its evolving popularity over the years, there’s only so much you can do with the apocalypse. But one of the more recent exceptions to this drift is Shin’ichirô Ueda’s One Cut of the Dead.
Tender and uproarious, One Cut of the Dead is an easy contender for best horror flick of the summer and an easy winner for best comedy of the year to date. Inspired by Ryoichi Wada’s stage play Ghost in the Box, One Cut of the Dead follows the cast and crew of a low-budget zombie film that takes place at an abandoned water filtration plant. Things are going well enough; if not a bit tense thanks to perfectionist director, Higurashi. But when an actual zombie apocalypse breaks out, Higurashi demands the camera operator continue filming as the very real carnage begins.
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I went into One Cut of the Dead expecting what anyone reading that synopsis online would: something resembling a Greek tragedy. A director driven mad in the pursuit of making a name for himself with the ‘perfect’ horror movie only to succumb to his creation? Sign me up immediately. So imagine my surprise when instead of a gore fest I was treated to a stylishly directed ode to film crews everywhere who have their very own horrors to face when making the movies we all know and love.
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Without giving too much away, it’s safe to say One Cut of the Dead covers a good chunk of the challenges faced by a film crew. From difficult actors to script changes in the middle of a scene and even explosive diarrhea. One Cut deserves all the praise in the world for its fresh spin on the genre.
If you’re in the market for a feel good zombie flick that’s witty, occasionally so-raunchy-it-boarders-on-gross and even manages to deliver a legitimately emotional ending, I suggest you make One Cut of the Dead your next movie night watch.
WICKED RATING: 9/10
Director(s): Shin’ichirô Ueda
Writer(s): Shin’ichirô Ueda, inspired by Ryoichi Wada’s stage play
Starring: Takayuki Hamatsu, Mao, Harumi Shuhama, Yuzuki Akiyama, Kazuaki Nagaya and Manabu Hosoi
Release: June 2nd, 2020 (DVD and DVD/Blu-ray SteelBook)
Studio/Production Company: Les Films du Poisson, Versus Production, Bidibul Productions
Language: Japanese (with English subtitles)
Run Time: 97-minutes