One Cut of the Dead

09/19/2019 06:24

Film: One Cut of the Dead (Kamera o tomeru na!)

Year: 2017

Director: Shin'ichirô Ueda

Writer: Shin'ichirô Ueda

Starring: Takayuki Hamtsu, Yuzuki Akiyama and Harumi Shuhama



This was a film that a couple of my favorite podcasts talked about and how much they liked it. They both said they really couldn’t talk about it as it is quite hard to do so, because you really need to spoil it. This review could be a bit short, because I don’t want to do spoilers myself. My first watch of this was at the Gateway Film Center for their one day showing and now I’ve seen this movie twice more at home. This last viewing for the Summer Series for The Podcast Under the Stairs. The synopsis is things go badly for a hack director and film crew shooting a low budget zombie movie in an abandoned WWII Japanese facility, when they’re attacked by real zombies.

We start this as a crew is filming a zombie movie. The star is Ko (Kazuaki Nagaya) and his co-star is Chinatsu (Yuzuki Akiyama). Ko is a zombie and Chinatsu is pleading with him to wake up. He goes to bite her and they cut. The director is Higurashi (Takayuki Hamatsu) and he goes off Chinatsu as well as Ko. The make-up artist is Nao (Harumi Shuhama) and she tries to calm everyone down. It is decided to take a break.

Chinatsu, Ko and Nao go off together and she tells them the urban legend about the place they are at. Things take a turn when it comes true and they’re attacked by zombies. It becomes a fight for survival until we realize what is really going on here. It might be even more stressful than what we originally thought it was. We also can’t always believe what we are seeing.

Just to give you an idea, what I recapped there is literally the first 30 minutes and an extremely vague hint at what we get after that first section. I was kind of confused with my initial viewing, because I didn’t know where they could go from there. What I will say is that after this point, I ended up loving what this movie is doing. As someone who has worked on a feature length film, I can definitely say that helped me to enjoy this even more.

I should warn you though; this first half hour is a horror comedy, where the rest of the film is definitely more of a comedy with horror elements to it, to an extent. I would say that these elements though might not necessarily be in the traditional sense. I’m not always the biggest fan of the blending of these two genres, but in this case, it worked for me. It also doesn’t necessarily build tension though like most movies would, but that’s not to say there isn’t stress. Something I do need to say is there’s some good writing of things introduced and then referred to later. I’m definitely a sucker for that.

To avoid going into spoilers, I’ll move to talking about the pacing and editing of the film. Something I noticed is that the title of the movie is a play on words. We get what looks to actually a good section that is one cut with some interesting camera movements. I never got bored though, so that is definitely a perk and I love how this ends up playing out. Something that struck me with this last viewing, the camera work is even more amazing with considering the different things to hide. I’m still impressed after three viewings.

That will move me to the acting, which is also good. We have Hamatsu who is actually fed up. We see his blow up in the first 30 seconds, but it all makes sense later in the movie. I thought this was genius, because it establishes at first that he’s crazy. That isn’t necessarily the truth though and you can’t fault the guy after seeing what he’s put up with. Akiyama and Nagaya are both good as the young leads of this film. They both are kind of annoying people, but they play this role very well. Shuhama is solid as was Mao who is playing a character of the same name. The rest of the cast rounded out the movie for what was needed.

Since this is a low budget, found footage film, the effects were done practically and look great. I like that when someone becomes a zombie, they have these odd glowing eyes. We get some blood that looks good and how the zombies move was realistic, again to an extent. They are making a bad zombie movie, but not necessarily on purpose. I didn’t really have any issues here and the found footage aspect is shot well. It adds a layer of realism to this movie.

The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack. Despite this being a take on found footage, we are getting some music and it does fit for what they’re going for. It doesn’t necessarily stand out though. It is interesting that with the sound design you can hear things off camera, which adds to the comedy when you see what was really going on.

Now with that said, this film was one that I had expectations coming in with since people I respect opinions were on high on it. Since this film is hard to talk about, they were cryptic and unsure of what I was getting into, much like I’m trying to be here. I liked the first 30 minutes, but at the reveal of what is going on, I really ended up loving it. I think the found footage; low budget zombie angle works well. It is a horror/comedy, which can be hit or miss for me and this one really knocked it out of the park. We get a combination of situations and actors just being funny. That leads me to the acting being good. The effects fit for what was needed and the soundtrack did as well. I found this to be a good movie overall.


My Rating: 9 out of 10