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Mike’s Strange Cinema Cavalcade - ONE CUT OF THE DEAD

one cut of the dead review
The film crew of a low-budget zombie movie find themselves besieged by actual zombies.

Review by Mike Vaughn

Directed by: Shin’ichiro Ueda

Starring: Takayuki Hamatsu, Yuzuki Akiyama, Harumi Shubama

one cut of the dead bluray

Right. So, going into this I knew this would be a challenging movie to review. Challenging not because it's confusing or all over the place but rather because it's hard to do without spoiling, so…Spoilers ahead. But seriously, if you are a horror fan you should really check this out ASAP. It's currently streaming on Shudder.

During a low budget zombie film shoot in a creepy warehouse the crew members find themselves among zombies lead by their whacked-out director Higurashi (Takayuki Hamatsu). But all is not what it seems in this wonderfully mad-cap take on the undead genre.

one cut of the dead review

It seems zombie movies are again making a big comeback in recent years with brilliant films like Train to Busan (2016), Cargo (2017) and of course One Cut of the Dead (2017), a film that blew audiences away upon its festival run. It was quickly compared to Shaun of the Dead (2004) in terms of wonderfully subverting the zombie sub-genre. But the big question is, is it really worth the hype? Without a doubt yes, this movie is everything people are saying it is and more.

[ READ MORE: New Release Review - Scare Package ]

Okay, here is where I have to get into major spoilers so, last warning. The film starts in a creepy warehouse and we are already in progress with a cheesy looking zombie attacking a girl, complete with corny-dialogue and questionable acting. We quickly pan out to see that this is all a movie, so the bad makeup and acting actually starts to make sense. As the film goes on, it once again starts to feel like a very poorly written, cliché filled horror outing and, honestly, I may have even let out a groan or two. Later I found out some fans actually bailed on the film at this point BUT director Shin’ichiro Ueda once again has a brilliant trick up his sleeve. We see the movie quickly play out and the credits roll but um…its only about thirty-something minutes into the run-time. That’s because, in a wonderful trick, the film is actually about the production of the film within the film. I swear it's not as confusing as it sounds.

one cut of the dead review

Technically this is not a horror film but it honours the genre in a profound way, as well as the high energy fun and often times insane trials of filmmaking. This time things are even more chaotic because the characters have to do it live. This is such a fresh and fun take on the genre which is really saying a lot because zombie films have been, pardon the dad joke, done to death.

[ READ MORE : Blu-Ray Review - Dream Demon ]

From a technical standpoint you cannot help but marvel at this film. For example, the long takes without a single cut are truly incredible when you take a moment to think about how all of that has to be pre-planned before filming. Everything has to be 100% right to be able to get these scenes in one take. I am very skeptical about films that are hyped up this much but One Cut of the Dead is worthy of all the praise it gets and more.

one cut of the dead review

RLJE Entertainment has released One Cut of the Dead in the US on DVD and Steelbook Blu ray (I'm reviewing the SD DVD edition). Being a newer SD release the film doesn’t look as bad as an upconverted older film. You still get some grain and lower resolution picture. Now, this film is brilliant yes, but it isn’t that visually compelling. So it's alright, not a travesty if you want the DVD. In fact the lower fi might actually enhance the film within a film within a film. Though, I would say for a little bit more you might as well spring for the nicely done Steelbook instead. Overall, though, the picture is fine; it's not going to be 1080p good but if you want to save some bucks I think the DVD is the way to go. The sound is fine as well with a healthy 2.0 Dolby digital track.

The extras (which are the same for the Blu Ray) are a great set of Outtakes, Photo gallery and the entire POM: Instructional video. Value wise you`d be fine with the DVD but if you are someone who has to have it looking its very best, obviously the 1080p Blu Ray is the way to go. Still, RLJE package their DVDs in a nice way and like Creepshow, One Cut of the Dead comes with a nice embossed slipcover. No matter DVD or Blu Rays, all fans need to have this in their collections.






Michael Vaughn is a rabid horror and cult fan who turned that love into a career. He is a writer, blogger and film historian and now author of 'The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema' which Shock Wave Podcast named their pick of the month, and Chris Alexander of Fangoria called “recommended reading.”


His other credits include Scream Magazine, Fangoria and websites like Films in Review and Bloody Flicks(UK). Please follow his Twitter @StrangeCinema65 and Instagram @gorehound_mike.