October Countdown: One Cut Of The Dead (2017)


This is a subtitled Japanese movie, and I went into this movie almost entirely blind.  Jeremy of the SinCast had recommended it, only giving me the detail that it begins as your classic low budget horror movie, where we learn that the director has actually summoned real zombies, and your typical slasher ensues.  The gimmick is that it is entirely being shot in one take, and the third of the movie is entirely one shot.  Credits roll, and the movie changes into a movie about the movie being made, and gets much better.  While the One Cut movie is a zombie movie, the real movie is about making a movie and much less about horror.  We even get to see what was happening at the beginning and  more.

Title: “One Cut Of The Dead”

Director: Shin’ichirô Ueda


Takayuki Hamatsu as Director Higurashi
Yuzuki Akiyama as Chinatsu
Harumi Shuhama as Nao
Kazuaki Nagaya as Ko
Hiroshi Ichihara as Kasahara
Mao as Mao


Things go badly for a hack director and film crew shooting a low budget zombie movie in an abandoned WWII Japanese facility, when they are attacked by real zombies. (From IMDB.)

Low Point:

The movie we get as One Cut of the Dead is bad.  Its pacing is off and barely makes sense.  After the first third, it’s questionable if the time you spent watching this was justified.

High Point:

By the end of the film, not only does having to sit through the beginning make sense, it may even be worth a rewatch.  There is an unexpected emotional payoff you can’t see from the poor quality zombie slasher at the beginning.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 The idea of a One Cut isn’t new, as that was the only English words recognizable in the film.  Still, using a director’s film making experience to show us how he connects with his daughter isn’t as common.

Effects: 3/6 The zombies don’t look real.  The zombies look like cheap movie zombies and excessively cheap, at that.  Is that a win or a loss is hard to say.

Acting: 6/6 The “real” portion of the film shows what feels like real emotion, and these actors were able to convey what they wanted to convey without doing it in English.

Production: 4/6 Even by the time we get to the “real” world the film is still not a big budget production, but it does raise to the quality one expects from your average movie.

Story: 4/6 It is a simple story, which it needs to be when it has to be read to understand, but the story works.

Emotional Response: 6/6 By the end, the director’s triumph is well delivered and unexpectedly satisfying.

Overall: 5/6 The first third can cause questions of how worthy the time invested in the movie is, but every moment is paid off in time for the real final credits to roll.

In total, “One Cut Of The Dead” receives 32/42.

October 5: The Joker (2019)
October 12: Hail, Satan? (2019)
October 19: One Cut of the Dead (2017-Japan and 2019-USA)
October 26: Midsommar (2019)
October 31: Judging from our votes thus far, we’ll be reviewing three different incarnations of The Cat and the Canary. But feel free to go back to that post and vote for one of the others.

October 5: The Joker (2019)
October 12: Hail, Satan? (2019)
October 19: One Cut of the Dead (2017-Japan and 2019-USA)
October 26: Midsommar (2019)
October 31: Three surviving incarnations of The Cat and the Canary (1927, 1939, 1978)

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