One Cut of the Dead (2017)
March 10, 2019 9:37 PM - Subscribe

Don't stop the camera! Things go badly for a hack director and film crew shooting a low budget zombie movie in an abandoned WWII Japanese facility, when they are attacked by real zombies.

Winner of Best Film Editing for the 42nd Japan Academy Prize.

"Brainy and bloody in equal measure, One Cut of the Dead reanimates the moribund zombie genre with a refreshing blend of formal daring and clever satire."
-Rotten Tomatoes, 100% current

"Infused with a nutty energy, a sly sense of satire and a surprising emotional undertow in its final third, writer-director editor Shinichiro Ueda’s joyous flick takes the standard low-budget horror debut route, then uses it as a jumping-off point into more original, funnier smarter areas."
-Empire Online

"It’s ... a refreshingly earnest film, with memorable characters and an unexpectedly sweet subplot that sees a father reconnecting with his teenage daughter over their shared love of horror movies."
-AV Club

"Shinichiro Ueda's zombie comedy is one that purposefully pretends to offer familiar zombie schlock only to rip the rug out from under us in an innovative, hilarious way. The level of detail is uncanny, and the comedy is equally matched by charm."
-Bloody Disgusting
posted by lesser weasel (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I had the absolute delight of catching this from the start on TV the other day. The film is in three solid acts, with the first being an impressive 37-minute continuous shot; but I agree with some reviews that it's best to go in cold, so that's all I'll say for now. All I had known at the start was that it was a winner of the Japan Academy Prize, and initial confusion turned to complete enjoyment.

I think I gushed about this film to anyone who I would listen for the rest of the night after.
posted by lesser weasel at 9:42 PM on March 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

I assume the answer is no, but I have to ask: Is this available on any streaming services yet?
posted by tobascodagama at 8:42 AM on March 11, 2019

Saw this at the Prince Charles a few weeks ago and loved it - I'd characterise it as a zombie Noises Off, and although it's very clever, it's mostly sweet. The problem with raving about it too much is that people might have expectations it can't handle - the best way to see it, I think, is to wander in with only a vague idea of what you're about to see.

posted by Grangousier at 12:42 PM on March 11, 2019 [4 favorites]

I saw this in theaters last year, and loved it so much I bought a ticket for my son when he came home during summer vacation and "forced" him to go see it too! Such a fun film.

I also caught the director and actors' TV commentary during the broadcast last Friday. Ueda went into a lot of detail about which parts were done on purpose and which parts were actual filming accidents (drops of blood on the lens, people tripping), which was funny and interesting. And things like how the apartment and everything in it including the colorful sofa and laundry in the background actually belong to the director and his wife (who, by the way, is also an award-winning filmmaker) and the baby also being the director's real daughter, who was something like two or three months old at the time of filming.

The director is a talkative guy and just went on and on about how they didn't have any money to shoot and used everything they could at hand. The success of this movie is just astounding when you hear how it was made. I'm really happy these people got the attention they deserve and hope it leads to more funding towards moviemaking endeavors.

One other detail that really makes me smile is that the tiny female producer with the distinctive face and voice decided to try acting after turning 50, and this was her first movie! She worked in the legal field before. I love hearing about people who try new things later in life.

I also agree that if you haven't seen it, try to see it without learning too much about it, and bear out the first 40 minutes because it really does get better after that. Yoroshiku-des!
posted by misozaki at 2:36 PM on March 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

OK, that baby is apparently the director's son, not daughter. It's relatively easy to keep talking about people in Japanese without referring to their gender (this is something I run into on a daily basis when translating subtitles for J-movies) and I sort of assumed the baby was a girl, oops. And that apartment is most likely rented, not owned. But the Uedas still really live there.

And the movie is on Amazon Prime Video in Japan but I'm not sure if it's available overseas right now.
posted by misozaki at 3:50 PM on March 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

the tiny female producer with the distinctive face and voice

That was the one sticking point for my wife, who thought she was a bit of a stereotype Kansai/Osaka oba-chan. It would be funny if that was because she actually is a bit of a stereotype Kansai/Osaka oba-chan.
posted by Grangousier at 2:31 AM on March 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

During the TV commentary, the director said he modeled many of the characters in the movie on the actual actors who would be acting the parts when he was working on the screenplay (ate-gaki). He didn't mention that actress specifically, but Wikipedia tells me she's from Osaka, so it's possible her real-life personality is reflected in that role!
posted by misozaki at 4:58 AM on March 12, 2019

I can say that this film is not available anywhere on streaming that I could find either for free or to rent (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, my Spectrum/Time Warner account).

Dying of jealousy right now as I read about this film a few months back and have been frantically searching ever since.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:30 PM on March 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Arrow Films told me has the U.S. streaming rights and should have it up "soon." For now, Arrow is also offering a region-free double bluray limited edition set with extras for £20. Got it in a few days after paying for tracking on the shipping. It doesn't look like the single-disc DVD version has the extras, but it's apparently region-free as well.

The English subtitles are at times annoyingly off, as if by someone who wasn't fluent in English (the most successful indie film in Japanese cinema history and they couldn't get a native English-speaking proofreader?) but I'm glad I got to see it before reading anything online except WATCH THIS! Even that AVClub snippet above is a completely unnecessary spoiler.

Loved it, of course. It starts so odd and creepy and....*off*, somehow...then goes in surprising, earnest, occasionally hilarious directions that made me want to watch it again.
posted by mediareport at 7:05 PM on March 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm disappointed to hear the subtitles weren't good, mediareport... I guess it's because they really couldn't afford to pay a decent translator to work on it. I wish I could have worked on it!
posted by misozaki at 4:41 AM on March 28, 2019

The subtitles were mostly ok to fine, but there are routinely some distracting, clumsy constructions that a fluent or native English speaker would have almost certainly cleaned up. You get over it pretty quickly, but it is a little disappointing at first.
posted by mediareport at 1:36 PM on March 29, 2019

Holy shit. This film.

It came up in Shockwaves Best of the Year list(s) and I just watched it (on Shudder, UK) and I was literally crying with laughter. It's such a love letter to horror cinema and film making in general.

I cannot recommend this enough. Unlike the consensus, I enjoyed the first 37 minutes as well for all it's wonkiness but my god does it go places. Just go in blind.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:45 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I saw this last night. It's sweet and builds up to a clever little heartwarming tangle and is low-key brilliant.

The real making-of at the end is amusing and feels necessary. I liked watching them recreate the same stumbles as the fake making-of in the main movie, or is it the other way around. I wonder which came first and how much they had to tinker to get it to match up closely enough.
posted by fleacircus at 12:46 AM on December 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

this is available to rent on google play currently and the subtitles didn't seem out of whack or bad.

loved this movie. watched it because James Gunn tweeted about it and saw it had 100% on rotten tomatoes. Sat through the first 30minutes and felt like okay a serviceable indie stunt film. Couldn't fully understand why it had such a high rating, figured there must be a ton of B movie aficionados and was about to write it off when I noticed there were still 50 minutes left. Suffice it to say I rewatched the entire thing twice through back-to-back. It's so entertaining and fun.

One of those movies that is best viewed knowing nothing about but can also understand a lot of people would be really frustrated with the first 30mins not knowing there's more.
posted by M Edward at 11:01 PM on January 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

I just watched this, and was mildly enjoying the first act but a little confused about why it was so beloved, looking, you know, "fast, cheap, and average" as it was. Then the thing happens, and then the third act is just incredible. I'm fully converted, this movie is great!
posted by rodlymight at 8:43 AM on May 1, 2022

I just watched this because someone recommended it elsewhere on MetaFilter, warning about having to stick through the first 30 minutes. Ok, so I watched the first part even though I don't like horror, thinking okay, this is getting somewhat creepy, maybe I'll stop watching if it turns out to be really scary. Then the second part started and I watched till the end and now I'm excitedly texting all of my friends to watch this!
posted by gakiko at 6:46 AM on September 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

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