Wednesday, October 02, 2019

31 Days of Halloween 2019: One Cut of the Dead

[Once again I'm going to attempt to do a horror(ish) movie review a day for the entire month of October. I've done this the last few years on The Cleveland Movie Blog. Most of the time I succeeded. Other times I didn't. We'll see if I can pull it off this year.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

Another day, another zombie movie. Not just another zombie movie, though, but like THE DEAD DON’T DIE, another zombie movie unlike any zombie movie you’ve seen before. Just goes to show that even a genre as oversaturated as the walking dead movie still has the capacity to surprise us.

Speaking of surprises, it’s best if you don’t know too much about this movie. With that in mind, I’m not going to go into much detail on the plot here. All you need to know is that a small film crew have gathered at an abandoned building to shoot a low budget zombie movie. Director (Takayuki Hamatsu) is really pushing his cast to give him authenticity, which seems to be a problem for his female lead (Aika Matsumoto), who even after 42 takes isn’t displaying nearly enough fear while being attacked by her boyfriend turned zombie (Kazuaki Kamiya). That all changes when a real zombie outbreak occurs, and rather than try to help his cast and crew escape, the director forces them to keep filming. It may seem a little typical and a little cheap at first but stick with it.

And that’s all you should know before watching this.

Well, I suppose it’s okay if I tell you the performances are spot on, the direction kinetic and assured, and the twist genuinely surprising and satisfying. If you’re looking for a gorefest, this is pretty tame, but actual writer/director Shin'ichirĂ´ Ueda does a good job creating suspense and keeping his audience on its toes. He also manages to deliver a surprisingly uplifting film despite the premise, and he does it without descending into schmaltz. As with THE DEAD DON’T DIE, those looking for something more traditional may be disappointed, but if originality and filmmaking skill are your thing, check this one out. Right now it’s a Shudder exclusive.

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