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Film Review: One Cut Of the Dead 屍殺片場 (2018) - Japan

Andrew Chan One Cut of the Dead

One Cut Of the Dead 屍殺片場 (2018) - Japan


Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)



Filmed on a shoestring budget of US$27,000 with a cast of newcomers, the latest zombie comedy directed by indie Shinichiro Ueda is not just a good film, but easily the funniest zombie comedy since “Shaun the Dead”. After taking the Japanese box office by storm and the international film festival circuit with standing ovations, “One Cut of the Dead” is now opening across Asian territories where it will undoubtedly become a cult classic. There are a few stand out points to admire about this indie production, the opening 37 minutes is shot in one uncut sequence and that’s worthy of an amazing feat in itself. However it is the final third of the film that it really comes to life as the comedy and laughter grows with the audience as each scene is fictionally shone how it was shot and improvised. All the mishaps and accidents makes the film all the more enjoyable and simply filling the cinema with laugh out loud moments one after another. 


With a cast of relatively unknowns, it make the film even more sync with the director’s wild and original vision. The fact that the film plays with the notion of reality and film within the film makes the audience question who is really filming what.  Takayuki Hamatsu stars as the director within the film who echoes Ueda’s persona and will undoubtedly be his career breakthrough role. In film, Hanatsu shows a fiery passion and when facing producers and real life we see a timid Director unable to pursue his passion or vision. Kazuaki Nagaya plays the young male actor who turns into a zombie attacking his girlfriend played by debutant Yuzuki Akiyama. Akiyama shows great potential in the role and tackle with great realism and engagement. Harumi Syuhama as Hanatsu’s wife and bit-part actor manages to steal the scenes and provide plenty of comic moments. 


All in all, this is one of those rare surprise hit indie zombie comedy that manages to go beyond the indie audience and reached out to a much broader and general audience. It is easily heartfelt, engagement and the cast and crew involved are filled with infectious passion and enthusiasm that translate directly to the audience’s hearts and minds. There are slow bits in the middle part that lags the film a little, but the film act all but redeem itself with so much laughter with one successful comic gag after another. On one hand, the one shot cut of 37 minutes zombie mini film may well have justified the admission ticket. This is one funny hell of zombie comedy. Stay for the outtakes. 


I rated it 8/10

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