One Cut of the Dead zombie movie

This low-budget Japanese zombie film stays alive by earning over 250 times its budget

Contributed by
Aug 22, 2018, 3:45 PM EDT (Updated)

If you need any more proof that a zombie film barely worth enough to buy a car can still completely trample the box office, this is it.

One Cut of the Dead is the unreal Japanese zomcom that has now infected the entire planet. Directed by Shin'ichirô Ueda, who wrapped this thing in just eight days, it has moaned, groaned, and shambled to superstardom from a nearly dead $27,000 budget to almost $10 million in revenue worldwide. A showing at Italy’s Udine Far East Film Festival got it a standing ovation and Audience Award. This movie also has — believe it — a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. No, that is not a typo.

Third Window Films has the worldwide rights, signing deals for Germany, the U.K., and Scandinavia, while Japan’s Nikkatsu has been handling Asia, bringing the gore to South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. "When Adam [Torel] from Third Window brought it to me and I heard about the budget, I thought, 'Oh, another indie zombie film,' but when I watched it and I fell in love with it," Nikkatsu's Emico Kawai told Heat Vision.

Was this the result of some highly contagious zombie virus? This surprisingly gripping horror comedy starts with a nonstop 37-minute shot that was all done in one take, and follows a director who decides to film a zombie movie in an abandoned World War II military facility that was once a charnel house of ghastly human experiments.

Sounds like a party until reanimated bodies starving for human flesh start creeping out of the dark recesses of the place. Except the actual corpses are indistinguishable from actors in ghoulish makeup until people actually start getting eaten.

This is the kind of reawakening that a long-shambling concept needs to reanimate itself. Even though it is a horror comedy, One Cut of the Dead grabs you by the neck, sinks its rotten teeth into your flesh, and refuses to let go. The POV makes you actually feel like you’re trapped in that infested building and getting terrorized with the cast and film crew, even when some of the fake zombies get mistaken for real zombies and vice versa.

Unfortunately, the virus has been slow in spreading to the U.S. (if it does at all), but you might get a discount if you happen to be somewhere where it’s showing and walk into the theater in a zombie costume.

(via Heat Vision)

Make Your Inbox Important

Like Comic-Con. Except every week in your inbox.

Sign-up breaker