One Cut of the Dead (Kamera wo tomeru na)

POM!

Year Released :2017

Director : Shinichiro Ueda

Cast : Takayuki Hamatsu, Yuzuki Akiyama, Harumi Shuhama, Kazuaki Nagaya, Hiroshi Ichihara and Mao

Those longer term readers will know that I grew up loving zombie culture after my brother introduced me to the original “Resident Evil” in 1996 (I can’t tell you how excited I am for the reimagining of the second game). This love ranged from games to films, and I immersed myself in it, but then as times went on the genre became ridiculously predictable and severely low in quality.

The very first film I reviewed on this site was a zombie film, the excellent “Exit Humanity“, but that has been one of the few shining lights of the last ten or so years in the genre.

Off of the top of my head, in recent years there has only been the “Resident Evil” film franchise doing well at the box office, although the sequel to “Zombieland” comes out this year, but I sincerely hope that having watched this movie today at the Prince Charles Cinema in London, that this gets wider attention.

Plot

Please note that before I start with the plot, that I am putting the movie into chronological order so that it makes sense. Putting it in the order it appears on screen would not only not make sense, but be really difficult to describe. Because of this I am, for the first time in the history of running this site (which is coming up on five years), going to actively tell you that you should just go in blind, not knowing anything other than the basics, and more importantly, stick with it. Believe me when I tell you that some of the oddities in the first 1/3 of the film make complete sense in the final twenty or so minutes.

So here we go. Final chance to pull out.

Higuarashi (Hamatsu) is approached by a new zombie channel with the initial idea of doing a movie within a movie, with all of it being filmed in one take and being broadcast live, giving them one shot at it. The premise of the movie is that whilst filming, the fictional crew are attacked by real zombies. It is a concept that interests Higuarashi, so he takes the job.

Over the next few months he casts the movie, but on the day of filming a lot of things go wrong and it becomes a case of the largely inexperienced cast having to step in and improvise.

So does it deserve the high praise it received?

Again, I can’t really review this film properly without spoiling it, so I urge you to watch it knowing as little as possible. I would stress that if you do go in relatively blind, please give it time because it is only in the final 1/3 of the film that you realise that the first 1/3 is bad intentionally.

For those that want me to expand on that, This film is divided into three sections that are easy breakdown, and whilst the second of them, thankfully the shortest, is a bit dull, section three is in itself genius, and by extension section one.

The first section of the movie is the supposed film, but a lot of oddities happen throughout and I was thinking ‘this is hilariously bad, but in a charming way’, it just didn’t seem to make any logical sense and the acting was terrible, but the third part subverts that entirely as you see it from a different perspective and why certain things were the way they were. For example, one character gets an axe in the head, all before acting like nothing had happened a few minutes later. It makes no sense at the time, but in the final third it really does.

Without the context of part three it just wouldn’t make sense, but that is one of many great choices that made it not only work, but create an almost genius and original movie. I say almost because it did somewhat remind me a bit of ‘Bowfinger’, due to how often they had to change things as they kept going wrong.

I know we’re only 18 days into 2019, but this by far my favourite film of the year so far.

Summary

I loved this movie, it is genius. I’m not going to give it the exceptionally rare “perfect” stamp, mainly due to the slow moving and drastically different in tone second act, but this is one of the easiest approved stamps that I’ve been able to give for a while.

This is a movie that will almost certainly be in my top ten at the end of the year (having said that, I’m sure I said that about other films that didn’t make my top ten in 2018).

If you can find it, watch it.

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