I know I’m pretty late to the party on this, but allow me to be the latest person to confirm all the praise that has been heaped upon One Cut of the Dead. No, it’s not even a little bit scary, but yes, it’s incredibly entertaining. It’s the good-time bloody zombie movie of the decade; rivaled only by Zombieland, even though the movies end up being quite different. It’s a movie that even people like me, who are largely exhausted by even the thought of enduring yet another zombie story, can enjoy.
One Cut of the Dead also, indeed, is a movie ideally engaged blindly. If you’ve read much about it already, you’ve probably been warned to avoid spoilers as though some incredible plot twist might be ruined for you. That’s not really the case, but a certain shift in the direction and even perspective of the movie does occur relatively early on. The moment of the shift itself isn’t the most important element, however; it’s where it eventually leads us to in the third act that’s critical. Tonally, it transforms the film going for one type of humor to another, and turns the movie into something much more clever than the initial premise promises.
And that initial premise is solid enough, although I was prepared to feel a little underwhelmed by it. That much is not a spoiler at all: it’s the synopsis you’ll find on any streaming service choose to view the movie on. A film crew is shooting a micro-budget zombie movie when an actual zombie outbreak occurs. The obsessive, abusive and outright insane director decides to just keep filming, thinking he’s getting the best zombie attack film footage of all time.
This is a movie I’ll probably rewatch pretty soon, and revisit on this blog at a later date when I feel more comfortable writing about plot details. As it stands, all I can say is that it truly is funny, well-acted, well-conceived and well-executed. Even after the shift and a seeming lull, it retains some terrific comedic timing, and actually turns into something strangely more suspenseful than you might expect. If you’re up for something ultimately more breezy and fun for the Halloween season, this is definitely one to watch.
Final Grade: Every bit as good as advertised. I’m still smiling. Only regret is that I didn’t catch it when it was briefly playing at a theater near me.