8/10. Smart and innovative. One Cut of The Dead is easily the best zombie film since Shaun of The Dead.
Before continuing this review any further, we must strongly suggest not to look up anything about this film. The only thing you need to know is that it involves a low budget zombie film shot in one continuous 37-minute take (as given by the name). That’s it.
We know that’s not much to go on but to sell it even further, this independent film was shot for $25,000 USD but has made $25,000,000 USD worldwide. Which makes it the only film in history to have ever made 1000 times its original budget.
And there’s a very good reason behind that: it’s ingenious.
Writer-director Shinichirou Ueda has crafted an incredible story that not only manages to somehow give another original take on the zombie genre but one that also works so well within the realms of its budget. We can’t express just how smart this film uses its production capabilities to tie in perfectly with the premise.
One of the best parts about the story is that there are so many moments that when they happen, might seem odd at first, but have an intelligent and fantastic pay off later. Suffice to say, these moments really make the film stand out because an extended one take isn’t exactly breaking any new ground (although it’s still great), and without these payoffs, we doubt we would have loved the film as much.
The other wonderful aspect of One Cut of The Dead is that it clearly has a lot of heart, which sells the story even further. We can’t say why exactly without spoiling it, but when the credits roll, you’re left with a warm fuzzy feeling which is rare while watching any film, let alone a zombie one.
Interestingly, every cast member is also an actor that the director found at a workshop and this fits perfectly with the themes from this film. Again we can’t tell you what they are without spoiling what happens, but after watching it, you should be able to see what we mean.
There is so much that we could talk about how smart this film is, but we can’t without giving it away (which now feels like the theme of this review). We’re just happy and incredibly impressed that for an independent film, it’s achieved such global recognition. But we also know that it could be so much higher since it hasn’t even been screened in Australia, even though it was technically released back in 2018 and is still making its way around the world.
Hopefully, that means that when it does reach more theatres, that’ll mean it will break that 2000 times its budget threshold. Because if there was ever a film that deserved that achievement more, it would have to be this one.
A fantastic film and we can’t wait to watch it again. See it.
Watch the trailer below.
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