(director/writer: Michel Hazanavicius; screenwriters: based on the film “One Cut of the Dead” by Shinichiro Ueda, inspired by the play “Ghost in the Box” by Ryoichi Wada; cinematographer: Jonathan Ricquebourg; editor: Mickael Dumontier; music:Alexandre Desplat; cast: Romain Duris (Rémi), Bérénice Bejo (Nadia), Finnegan Oldfield (Raphaël), Matilda Lutz (Ava), Grégory Gadebois (Philippe), Simone Hazanavicius (Romy), Lyes Salem (Mounir), Sébastien Chassagne (Armel), Raphaël Quenard (Jonathan), Jean-Pascal Zadi (Fatih), Charlie Dupont (Fredo), Agnes Hurstel (Laura); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Brahim Chioua, Alain de la Mata, Noémie Devide, Michael Hazanavicius, Vincent Maraval, John Penotti: Getaway Films; 2022-France-in French with English subtitles)

This one-joke film is not scary or funny.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A French remake of the undemanding blood-splatter zombie farce, a cult hit from a 2017, the Japanese low-budget film “One Cut of the Dead” by Shinichiro Ueda. The retread is poorly directed and written by Oscar-winning French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”/”Godard Mon Amour”), who is seemingly out of his element in this one. It’s a bad film that might excite those who favor silly horror films meant to be pleasing above all else and unsubstantial rather than artistic.

At the making of a low-budget French zombie movie, at a site where the Japanese army did experiments on bringing back the dead, there is an interruption during the shoot by the appearance of real zombies, brought back from the dead because the film crew has infringed on an ancient local taboo.

Romain Duris plays the despotic director who is pleased the film at last gets the authentic horror it shoots for when the real zombies appear, while his make-up artist wife is Nadia (Bérénice Bejo) is forced into acting in it when an actress in a car accident is not available. Nadia is horrified as the zombies go on a for real bloody attack and surprisingly displays martial arts skill, while the zombies split heads open with an axe.

The remake can’t come close to the original as far as entertainment value and of being valued as how to make a low budget film. This one has a $4 million budget compared to Ueda’s $25,000 micro-budget (which netted $60 million worldwide), and a cast that includes Oscar-nominee Bérénice Bejo and not a cast of unknowns. Everything about this disappointing film seems to betray the film’s original intention of how to make a decent crowd-pleasing film on the cheap.

This one-joke film is not scary or funny. It even fails to deliver the goods when it messes up its attempt to be made as a single take picture.

It opens the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

REVIEWED ON 5/23/2022  GRADE: C-