Review by John Delia
Very campy and a bit over the top, the film One Cut of the Dead is out on DVD and a DVD/Blu-ray Steelbook. The film tells the story of a zombie takeover at a deserted water plant as the director is making a movie about zombies. Itâ€™s very unique and a fun watch if you can stick with it. If you like the absurd, than this comedy/horror flick may just be your cup of Saki.
After over 40 takes of a scene from his zombie film Director Migurashi (Takayuki Hamatsu) tries to get his young star Chinatsu (YuzukiÂ Akiyama)Â to show she is scared and emotional, but doesnâ€™t seem to be making headway. He then goes off the chain with anger when she doesnâ€™t comply even when he gets into her face with some threatening words. The assistant director Nao (Harumi Shuhama) calls for a 30 minute break. During the break Nao and Chinatsuâ€™s co-star Ko (Kazuaki Nagaya) console her and try to get her more convincing in her role. Nao also tells them that the water filtration plant they are shooting in has a story behind it that includes human experimentation by the Japanese Army in an attempt to bring the dead back to life.
When some of the crew start to get attacked by zombies, the making of the movie gets real. The actual director of the film and writer Shin’ichirÃ´ Ueda does a good job of blending the real with his screenplay. He make it very ghoulish as he proceeds to take the story to another level of fright. But, being the zombie genre we have grown to love, his film looks very ordinary and as turns One Cut of the Dead into a comical feast of gore and dismemberment. Or so you think.
36 minutes into the film you think itâ€™s over but itâ€™s notâ€¦ we flash back a month earlier to find the cast and crew preparing for the shoot. Itâ€™s one of those films that are quite unique in that you get to see the finished product and then they take you back as part of the storyline to the beginning cast selection following the hiring of the director. From there we relive the original film but this time from the perspective of the actual filmmakers. Whew! Itâ€™s a win win for the filmmaker if he could pull it off, and he does.
ONE CUT OF THE DEAD DVD as well as the DVD/Blu-ray Steelbook include the following bonus features:
â€œPOM! Instructional Videoâ€
The Blu-ray in the Steelbook also includes the â€œGo-Proâ€ version of the film that gives you a birdâ€™s eye view of how the first 35 minute shoot was made in one long take. Itâ€™s very cool for budding filmmakers to see the crew in action as they shoot with make-up jumping in, props handlers setting up scenes, photographers with their handheld cameras running along with the action and so much more.
One Cut of the Dead has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains language, smoking, extreme violence and a lot of gory zombie play. The film is shown either in the Japanese language or can be changed to English to be able to capture every word. You can add the English subtitles, but the Japanese talk very fast and the dialogue on the screen flashes by very quickly. The film is based on the play, â€œGhost in the Box!â€ According to information found on the internet the low budget film was shot for only $25,000.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A very campy and yet cool movie for the genre lovers and students of film (4 out of 5 Stars)
Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Harumi Shuhama, Takayuki Hamatsu, YuzukiÂ Akiyama
Directed and Written by: Shin’ichirÃ´ Ueda
Genre: Horror, Comedy
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, language, smoking, extreme violence, gore
Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min.
Video Release Date: June 2, 2020
Original Theatrical Release Date: September 24, 2020
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles (changeable to English dubbed)
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Audio: English DTS- Master Audio 2.0
Video: Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Distributed by: RLJE Films
Released on: DVD, DVD/Blu-ray Steelbook