It’s Saturday! Gather up the family or loved ones, prepare the Monster cereals or favorite movie snacks, and hit play on today’s Family Fun pick. One that’s only been available for a month now; 2019’s One Cut of the Dead.
At first glance, this movie presents itself as another typical zombie flick by way of extreme low budget via a hack director. Stick with it. One Cut of the Dead has many surprises in store, reinvigorating a stale subgenre by offering up something much more heartfelt and earnest. It’s such a feel-good film that it’s impossible to reach the end credits without grinning and yelling “POM!” At least once.
Synopsis: A film crew is shooting a low budget zombie film in an abandoned water filtration plant. One that was rumored to have been used as a site for military experiments on humans. Just as the director is at his worst in berating his cast and crew, an actual zombie outbreak invades their set. The cast and crews’ real screams of terror delight the director, but their production is irrevocably changed.
Key Players: Takayuki Hamatsu takes the lead as Director Higurashi, a character with far more layers than expected based on his initial abrasive introduction. His cast and crew members are played by Yuzuki Akiyama, Harumi Shuhama, Kazuaki Nagaya, Hiroshi Ichihara, and Mao.
Why It’s on the List: The first 37 minutes of this film are pure DIY energy. Extreme low budget and overly familiar zombie tropes would induce eye-rolling if not for the impressive ambition of it all being one single, continuous take. That alone should get you through until director Shin’ichirô Ueda, in his feature debut no less, opens up and lets the audience in on his loving takedown of zombie movies. Emphasis on the love. One Cut of the Dead is the type of film that genuinely defies expectations and genre; there’s a lot about this that warrants discussion of where you would place this on the video store shelf. Meaning, it’s a great candidate for gateway horror.
Pom!: No clip today, because it’s best to approach this movie as blind as possible. But do keep your eye on this character, and prepare to add a new movie quote to your repertoire.
Where You Can Watch: One Cut of the Dead is a Shudder exclusive, now streaming.