zombiesJapanese
One Cut of the Dead
Also known as: Camera wo Tomeru na!
Medium: film
Year: 2017
Writer/director: Shinichiro Ueda
Original creator: Ryoichi Wada
Keywords: zombies, horror, favourite
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Actor: Takayuki Hamatsu, Yuzuki Akiyama, Harumi Shuhama, Kazuaki Nagaya, Manabu Hosoi, Hiroshi Ichihara, Shuntaro Yamazaki, Shin'ichiro Osawa, Yoshiko Takehara, Miki Yoshida, Ayana Goda, Sakina Asamori, Tomokazu Yamaguchi, Takuya Fujimura, Satoshi Iwago, Kyoko Takahashi, Shiori Nukumi, Kouki Tsurunishi, Toshiyuki Kuba, Yu Shiraoka, Masaomi Soga, Kyotaro Gan, Miki Sawatari
Format: 97 minutes
Url: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7914416/
Website category: J-horror
Review date: 1 June 2022
It's one of the best films I've seen in a while. (And it's funny.) It's a zombie film, yes, but only until the genre leap. I'd definitely recommend this one, ideally with as little foreknowledge as possible. Made cheaply with a cast of unknowns, it became an international hit and made box office history by earning over a thousand times its budget.
So, in other words, stop reading this review! Just watch the film instead.
But, for everyone else...
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THE FIRST 36 MINUTES
...are a zombie film where the characters are making a zombie film. You can imagine the potential for confusion. "What's that make-up? You could be an actor. I'll film it."
The director's a psycho who'd been yelling for more realism and thinks people getting eaten on-camera is a filmmaking opportunity. The make-up lady is awesome and says "pom". The game of arm tag made me laugh. It's a first-person film with the cameraman as one of the characters under threat, but there are times when the film seems to forget that.
It's a straightforward zombie film with some good laughs. I enjoyed it.
THE REMAINING HOUR
...shows the filmmakers of this zombie film about filmmakers of a zombie film. (I'll let you read that again.) Yes, they're shooting the 36-minute film we just watched. Hang on. We need nomenclature. The REAL FILM is the complete 97-minute movie I just watched. The INNER FILM is what we watch in the first 36 minutes and which everyone's making in the remaining hour. The NON-EXISTENT FILM is the one that the fictional characters of the inner film are shooting, which I'm pretty sure never got completed.
Anyway, we see what everyone's like in real life. The handsome hero is a stuck-up dick. The heroine is an idol who has things she doesn't like cut from the script. The cast include a booze hound, a worrying man with a medical condition and two stars who weren't in the inner film, so presumably something went wrong. Also, the producers want the film to be: (a) broadcast live, and (b) done as a single continuous take. (I have a theory that filmmaking types get too excited about single-take scenes/films, simply because they're hard to pull off. I bet most viewers wouldn't notice. That said, though, the inner film is indeed a One Cut of the Dead, so those mad producers got their wish.)
The real film's middle act is a bit slow, but the comedy takes off in the actual filming. The inner film was actually quite good, but it definitely had a few oddities. Here, we see how those happened. Good grief, it's a disaster. I was on the floor laughing. (Incidentally, it's interesting to note how some of the inner film's most interesting scenes and moments are the result of cock-ups and improvisation. Those unexplained mysterious moments and odd human bits help raise the inner film above the blander, more generic fare they'd been going to make.)
I called this one of the best films I've seen in a while. That's true. It is, but it's not art or literature. It's not commenting on the human condition. It's far more lowbrow than that, but also clever, ingenious and funny. You might find yourself buying multiple DVDs to give your friends for Christmas (assuming they don't mind zombie films).