One Cut of the Dead is a recent Japanese comedy horror film that has been rapidly gaining attention and popularity worldwide since its release back in November of 2017, following a successful screening at the Udine Far East Film Festival, an international film festival held in Italy that focuses on Asian Cinema. The film originally had a budget of around $25,000 USD (3 million Japanese Yen) and ran for about a week in a very limited number of theaters prior to the screening at Udine.
Called Kamera wo Tomeru na! (Lit. “Don’t Stop the Camera”) in Japanese, One Cut of the Dead follows a cast of highly likable ordinary characters on the set of a film in an abandoned industrial plant in the woods. They are filming scenes for an upcoming horror movie when rumors of the location’s own horrendous past start to spread.
No sooner than the cast is shaken by these rumors does the crew find themselves in the midst of an actual zombie attack. The overzealous director of the film, who appears to have orchestrated the events of the attack for the sake of telling an authentic story, intends to get his shot no matter what the cost, and insists that the cameras keep rolling, even if he has to tend to them himself.
One Cut of the Dead Currently has a 100% certified fresh critical rating on the popular professional review aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes, which is an outstanding achievement on its own considering how hard it is to sufficiently satisfy the tastes of everyone in the professional film critic circuit. Additionally, the film has a 7.7 rating (again, very impressive) on the Internet Movie Database, the internet’s oldest user-based review site for films, and an 86 on Metacritic, which indicates “Universal Acclaim”.
What Makes ‘One Cut of the Dead’ Such a Unique Experience?
Perhaps the best thing about One Cut of the Dead is that it appeals to a wide variety of audiences. Although the film is billed as a part of the horror genre, it is a film that features more than simply the main zombie plot. I can’t get into the details of exactly why without spoiling the film, and many before me have had to deal with the same hardship of trying to sell the movie to a completely unfamiliar audience without giving away its secrets.
Consider what it takes to make a successful film within the horror genre. Since the genre itself is hard to watch for many audiences, horror films are by default at a huge disadvantage in terms of potential audience.
This film (which does not have an official rating based on the MPAA’s film rating guidelines) has garnered nothing but praise since its popularity began to rise.
Following the surge, it actually returned to Japanese theaters in Tokyo (few at first, which rapidly increased to many), where it sold over 2 million tickets and ended up being in the top 10 domestic grossing films of 2018 in Japan.
In fact, the film made over 1,000 times its budget back, setting a historical milestone for film earnings. It was popular in other Asian countries to some degree as well, although most of the $30,000,000 USD it grossed came from Japan.
Without giving any actual spoilers, I will reveal that the film is less of a “scary” movie and more of a heartwarming one. There is very little about the movie that even the most squeamish of patrons won’t be able to appreciate. The universal popularity and praise of the film is proof of this.
How Can I Watch ‘One Cut of the Dead’ Online?
Though the film has been available for purchase internationally on blu-ray disc since January of 2019, you might have a harder time finding it available to watch online. Although Netflix offers the film for streaming on both its Japanese and Korean versions, it is not currently streaming on the platform in other regions.
Following select screenings of the film in New York City and Los Angeles that ran in September of 2019, the film appeared on horror film specialty site Shudder, immediately available for streaming via the site or app.
As of February 2020, it remains an exclusive to Shudder as far as subscription plan streaming services go, but you can also rent the film for digital screening on Amazon for a fee. You can also always purchase the blu-ray to satisfy your zombie invasion needs, and trust me, it is definitely worth adding to your collection.