One Cut of the Dead was one of the best comedies of 2017, a zombie movie with a twist. The first 37 minutes were shot in a single take; then, the next hour goes in a completely different direction. Now director Shinichiro Ueda shot a 27-minute sequel and spinoff entirely on zoom during the lockdown. One Cut of the Dead Mission: Remote was released on YouTube for free back in April for all to see.
The original movie One Cut of the Dead was a love letter to filmmaking. It was about a jobbing TV director known for making fast, cheap, and efficient corporate videos who gets hired to make a live zombie movie to launch a new horror-oriented TV cable channel. On the day of the shoot, almost everything that could possibly go wrong does, and the hapless director, his cast, and crew have to scramble desperately to make sure the show must go on. Stopping or shutting down the production was not an option. Everyone on the location had to do everything they possibly could to make sure the whole thing was shot; all broadcast live to the nation. They had to cover up their mistakes, compensate for drunk actors, on-set accidents, and other disasters.
A Sequel Shot on Zoom
The half-hour sequel features the return of the director, his cast and crew returning to make a true-crime thriller shot on zoom during the lockdown. Even more absurd hijinks and farce ensue. Director Highurashi's daughter is now a director herself. Yes, everyone is back, even the drunken actor.
"All of Japan, the entire world, is feeling a bit stressed out over the fears about the coronavirus, and so I just had a simple wish to cheer people up a bit through light-hearted entertainment," Ueda, 36, told The Associated Press in a recent interview that fittingly took place by Zoom.
"Watching entertainment has saved me, helped me cope often when I was depressed. I sensed a mission of sorts that I have to make this work now," Ueda said.
"I grew up on Hollywood films. I've watched more Americans movies than Japanese movies. The works I watched were all made on a global standard, not something just understood in Japan. That helped me develop the knack for pursuing works enjoyed by everyone in the world, works that deal with universal themes and primordial desires."
One Cut of the Dead Mission: Remote is as funny and heartwarmingly affirming as the original movie. It climaxes with over 300 people from all over the world, sending in their own zoom videos following a social media request to celebrate creative people coming together to put a show together to lift everyone's spirits.