Netflix’s newest film, Bird Box, was supposedly a smash hit. The notoriously tight-lipped streaming service proudly reported the film had reached over 45 million streams, the first time they have openly declared any site metrics. This led to Twitter questions about completion rates, watch time, and more. On top of that, the conspiracy theories began to flow about Netflix paying people to tweet memes about the film, or that they were employing bots to help with their marketing. In the year of our Lord 2018, we are now seriously concerned about companies paying people to secretly make memes. This is a lot of attention, conspiracies, and fixation on a film that is really just OK.
The past decade has seen an absolute boom in the zombie genre. Blood, guts, a message of “humanity is the real monster,” you know the drill. The genre has, frankly, been exhausted and finding a decent film about the undead is difficult. It seems that perhaps the time of the zombie has passed. But, Shinichirou Ueda’s One Cut of the Dead says otherwise. While it is not the typical zombie movie, this film questions and makes fun of popular zombie tropes and finally made me excited about the subgenre again. It starts as one seemingly-mediocre thing and then becomes something else entirely.
One Cut of the Dead opens in the well-known found footage style. A crew is making a zombie movie in a secluded location, then all hell breaks loose. Each member of the crew falls into a well-known figure of the zombie film: the screaming girl, the attempting-to-be-masculine boy, the wise, older character who seems to know exactly why everything is going wrong. The found footage style and stereotypical characters look like any other zombie film, especially George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead. However, after an exceptional 37-minute long take, this film completely flips tone, style, story, everything.