One Cut of the Dead

Shinichiro Ueda’s One Cut of the Dead is the little zombie movie that could. Made on a shoestring budget of about $27,000, the Japanese film turned worldwide festival favorite has since earned back a whopping 1,000 times its budget. Its box office numbers would be a victory by any measure, but they’re especially vindicating for a movie that initially opened in just one small Tokyo theater for a six-day run. They’d also have to be vindicating for Ueda, a 34-year-old first-time feature filmmaker who assembled a cast of unknowns for this project and only spent eight days shooting it.

In late September, One Cut of the Dead took home the Audience Award and the award for Best Director (Horror Features) at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. /Film’s own Jacob Hall was there and he called the movie “the best zombie comedy in years.” Others have mentioned it in the same breath as Shaun of the Dead. I was curious to see this film because of all the buzz surrounding it, so I jumped at the chance to be in the theater when One Cut of the Dead made its homecoming at the 2018 Tokyo International Film Festival.

It seemed like the perfect venue. The only catch? The movie was screening on Halloween night, when Tokyo turns into a street party on par with Times Square, New York City, on New Year’s Eve.

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