★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
This remake of the surprise Japanese hit One Cut of the Dead puts a French spin on the proceedings . . . and it works!
Directed by Michel Hazanavicius
Writer/director Michel Hazanavicius’ Final Cut (Coupez!; France, 2022), as many fans of genre cinema know by now, is a French remake of the beloved-by-many Japanese film One Cut of the Dead (2017), directed by Shin’ichiro Ueda. Most people who love that original, cleverly told underdog story probably either got their hackles up or wondered how effective a remake could actually be. I fell into the latter camp, and I’m happy to report that I feel Final Cut is an admirable effort.
I still don’t want to give away spoilers for those who haven’t yet seen One Cut of the Dead, so suffice it to say that Final Cut is mostly a beat-for-beat remake, with some decidedly French humor added, along with reference to the original film. The story follows the exploits of director Remi (Romain Duris), who, as the film begins, is trying to get one of the lead characters in his low-budget zombie movie to nail her final scene, with little success. In an insane attempt to get the reality he wants, he reveals that he has raised actual zombies that are invading the film set. Let’s leave it at that regarding plot, because both Final Cut and One Cut of the Dead work on surprising viewers. An important note for those who have not yet seen either film: Do not give up, as I at one point considered doing with the original, because of the film’s first half hour or so. In both cases, you’ll be missing out on a truly fun and even heartwarming cinematic experience.
Both films are about the love of filmmaking, and 2011 Academy Award winner for Best Director Hazanavicius’ higher-budget version has as much to say about that as Ueda’s humbler original, if in a different manner. The humor in Final Cut is sometimes a bit more biting, and at times even borderline offensive, depending on the viewer. Ultimately, for remake naysayers or those simply worried that Final Cut cannot deliver charm like its source film, rest assured that this is one remake that succeeds quite nicely in bringing a film into a new cultural setting.
Signature Entertainment presents Final Cut on Digital Platforms 7th November.
Review by Joseph Perry
Final Cut screened as part of Arrow Video FrightFest, which took place in London, UK from August 11–August 22, 2022. For more information, visit https://www.frightfest.co.uk/.