Why ‘One Cut of the Dead’ is a bloody love letter to low-budget cinema

Why ‘One Cut of the Dead’ is a bloody love letter to low-budget cinema

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By Meg Shields · Published April 22, 2022

Welcome to The Queue – your daily distraction from curated video content downloaded from across the web. Today we see a video essay that takes a look at the cheap love letter for indie movies, One Cut of the Dead.


It’s impossible to really dig into what’s doing One Cut of the Dead so amazing without giving up his big secret. As you may have heard from the trusted horror addict in your life, Ueda Shin’ichirô 2017 zombie comedy is one of those movies where you have to “hold it out” to get a sense of what makes it great. And not knowing the details of that trick is not something I intend to deny anyone. So consider this as your first and last warning: spoilers ahead.

One Cut of the Dead begins with a 37-minute single take that will surely test the patience of even the most forgiving horror fan. First of all, I’ve been known to apologize for all kinds of low-budget harassment, from horrible ADR to “bless your heart” special effects. But when I started this critically acclaimed indie darling up, I can not say that a clumsy, amateurish long roof was what I had expected. It is only deep into it that you start to get hints that something else is on the way, with mistakes and choices that seem to hide something bigger taking place off-screen.

Soon enough (and by “soon” I mean, about 40 minutes later), we’ll be let in One Cut of the Dead‘s secret. In the second half of the film, we get to see why and how the film-in-film was created. At the same time, a comedy of error and a humorous ode to the persistence and persistence of low-budget filmmaking, One Cut of the Dead is both a love letter and a technical exercise that only reveals its brilliance to the patient viewer.

The show must go on. And sometimes that show has to contend with mistakes, happy accidents and everything in between.

See “One Cut Of The Dead – The Tenacity Of Low Budget Filmmaking”:


Who made this?

This video essay on how One Cut of the Dead celebrating the spirit of indie film production is by You’ve seen movies. UK-based author Oliver Bagshaw produces the channel and makes video essays on a variety of films, from cult to classic cinema stories. You can subscribe to their YouTube channel here.

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Related topics: Horror, one cut of the dead, The Queue

Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor to Film School Rejects. She currently operates three columns on FSR: The Queue, How’d They Do That ?, and Horrorscope. She is also the curator of One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Me can be found screaming about John Boorman’s ‘Excalibur’ on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She her).

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