'One Cut of the Dead' Review

Updated on December 16, 2019
Sam Shepards profile image

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie movies. Pessimistic and survival films I also enjoy a lot.

One Cut of the Dead starts with one of the oldest tricks in the book. A pretty girl is being attacked by her zombie boyfriend in what appears to be an abandoned old factory. When the zombie is about to devour the poor girl, someone yells "cut!" and the action stops. That's right, we're watching an amateur zombie movie been made.

"Cute" is the first thing one thinks, perhaps tired of seeing the same narrative trick as the intro of lots of different movies.

But the joke is on us, because One Cut of the Dead is only teasing what’s next.

We quickly meet actress Chinatsu (played by Yuzuki Akiyama), actor Ko (Kazuaki Nagaya), makeup artist Nao (Harumi Shuhama), assistant director Kasahara (Hiroshi Ichihara) and director Higurashi (Takayuki Hamatso).

The director is deeply disappointed with Chinatsu's performance and after 42 takes, he's unhinged. He screams at Chinatsu. He even slaps Ko. Nao, who also seems to be doing some assistance in production, decides to calm things down by setting a 30-minute break.

During all this time, the camera hasn't stopped. We are watching a single shot since the beginning.

We already know what's coming, right? Yeah. Kasahara is attacked by a real zombie on the exterior of the abandoned factory and soon enough, reality and fiction cross paths. Now, the cast & crew of this zombie movie must survive a real zombie outbreak.

To make everything odder, director Higurashi, even knowing that they are facing real zombies, seems so obsessed with making a good movie, that he doesn't stop recording with his own camera and even put "traps" so that his cast & crew are forced to face the zombies. The director is completely won over to the new "meta" movie that life has offering him and he doesn't intend to waste that opportunity for a second.

The "one cut" is great. The camera doesn't cut for a moment--I only suspect a single hidden cut, and I couldn't assure it--and the choreography, even within a single location, is quite extensive, complex and dynamic.

During the vast majority of the single take, the tension works because the camera behaves like a found footage, but without its restrictions. The person who manages the camera is omnipresent and doesn't belong to the story.

Or at least that's what you think, until almost at the end, when the director shouts directly at the camera "don't stop recording!". We are left confused.

There are other odd, clumsy moments in the single take, which one ends up forgiving because of the massive challenge and the low budget involved. There are times when the camera seems to stay too long in the screams of the actress like it's making time for the makeup crew to establish the special effect of a woman with an ax stuck in her head.

The single take ends with a clumsy vertical camera movement, necessary to establish that Chinatsu, the only survivor, is standing on a strange star drawing created with blood, establishing that some kind of satanic ritual was behind the zombie outbreak. The credits begin to roll.

It's a quite satisfactory "one cut", which also surprises the audience because time feel shorter. It all happened kinda quickly. And yes, similar things have already been done in the past, but this effort by Japanese director Shinichirô Ueda is quite interesting.

Now, do you think that's all? I told you that the joke was on us.

One felt that the "one cut" happened very fast, because, in fact, with the included final credits, only 30 minutes have passed. And that's when One Cut Of The Dead launches its masterful punchline and ends up becoming a fantastic comedy about amateur filmmaking.

The movie continues, this time without a handheld camera, but with more traditional cinematography. We meet director Higurashi in his family environment. He's quite different. He's kind, shy and humble.

It turns out that the actress who was playing the makeup artist in the "one cut" is actually his wife. The family is completed by her daughter Mao (played by an actress actually called just Mao), who is also interested in film directing, but lately, she has been somewhat apart from her father.

What's Your Rating For One Cut of the Dead?

See results

A new channel called Zombie Channel wants to start operations with a live 30-minute one-cut zombie movie. And Higurashi will be in charge of directing it. From now on, we quickly watch the pre-production process (casting, rehearsals, etc.), gaining vital information.

The day of the live broadcast arrives, and like any other shooting, there are tons of problems to solve.

And now we understand. All the things that made us frown with the "one cut" of the first half hour, have a reason to be. Everything has been a great built-up for an ending full of great comedic moments. There's even some heart, as Mao end up helping his father overcome the shooting obstacles.

I've always said that those comedy movies that show the blooper reel in its final credits are comedies with very low quality that has to appeal to that mediocre gimmick so that the audience ends up with at least a smile when leaving the cinema.

Well, One Cut of the Dead is, by far, the only huge exception to my rule.

Movie Details

Title: One Cut of the Dead

Release Year: 2017

Director(s): Shin'ichirô Ueda

Actors: Takayuki Hamatsu, Yuzuki Akiyama, Harumi Shuhama, a.o.

5 stars for One Cut of the Dead

© 2019 Sam Shepards


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)