One Cut of the Dead

It’s difficult to write about One Cut of the Dead . There’s really no way to discuss this film without spoilers, and,  it is truly a film that needs not to be spoiled. You should see this film clean. It’s best to not read anything at all about it (don’t even watch the trailer, honestly) before watching it for the first time. I’m serious . So, this is the warning that the following contains spoilers and that reading this prior to seeing the film will absolutely wreck your enjoyment of it.
One Cut of the Dead is billed as a Zombie Comedy, and that’s right, although at the outset one may wonder at the comedy part of that description.

The film opens behind the scenes of an obviously micro-budget zombie movie. The action plays out as a single shot.  We watch small drama build as the cast and crew try to meet the demands of the director, who is small scale monster. He’s terrible and has everyone terrified. Then, as we expect, zombies show up for real. One Cut becomes a fast-paced, high adrenaline zombie action movie and in short order we see our characters cut down by undead monsters as the film reveals the big twist:

The director raised the dead on purpose to make his movie better! At this point you look at your watch and realize that the big climax is here, but we’ve only reached about half the film’s run time. And that’s when the rug is pulled out from under you.

One Cut then gives you the first cut- into a flashback where we see the director being hired to make a single take zombie movie that will be broadcast live on a new zombie tv station.  The movie then replays the action from earlier, but this time we see that the initial version was the movie, and we now get the actual behind the scenes footage. This, friends, is where the comedy aspect kicks in.

At this point the film becomes slapstick, farce, lightning fast comedy beats fly at the viewer as we watch everything go wrong during filming. The cast and crew have to constantly adapt and change course to keep their movie going.  The situations become increasingly ridiculous, yet the straight faced cast keep it grounded and believable at all times.

One Cut of the Dead was made for about twenty-five thousand dollars with a cast of complete unknowns. The bargain basement production design, as well as the active hand-held camera lend immediacy to the whole affair. What you see on the screen feels real, close by and very alive. The actors never ham it up, or wink to the camera. They tale everything seriously and that helps us to suspend whatever disbelief we may have arrived with.
This is one of the best zombie movies and one of the best comedies of the year. It’s must viewing for horror fans.

-Nathan Tyree