“Final Cut” stumbles in attempting to recapture the magic of the original.

When a movie comes out that somehow brings something new and different to the genre and gets hailed as something interesting and innovative, of course there are going to be copycats and remakes and the like. That is exactly what happened after One Cut of the Dead came out in 2017. Multiple movies used this style and vague outline to tell a zombie story, to varying success. However, 2022’s (now finally being released) Final Cut decided to just remake the original innovator. Michel Hazanavicius decides to go a completely new direction in his career in remaking and putting his spin on this meta commentary on the zombie genre, to less success than initially hoped for, but there are some moments of greatness.

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Romain Duris as Rémi/Higurashi in FINAL CUT. Photo courtesy of Kino Lorber.

The film focuses on Remi (Romain Duris), who’s been given the relatively impossible task of creating a zombie movie in a singular 30-minute take. As the character mentions in the movie, the task itself is nearly impossible and rather hell as single takes are strenuous enough, let alone one that is 30 minutes long. He casts Raphael (Finnean Oldfield) as his main zombie because of a recommendation by his daughter who’s aware of who’s who in Hollywood and the potential he carries. Nadia (Bérénice Bejo) plays his hilariously supportive wife who knows better than to cross over into this chaotic set. While the formula of the movie is certainly one that tries to show the shooting of a movie, the making of and creation of said movie, and then replays the entire movie for the in-film audience in the third act, is an overtly meta on meta take that loses its out-of-movie audience and ultimately loses the brains it is trying to take from its audience.

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Bérénice Bejo as Nadia/Natsumi FINAL CUT. Photo courtesy of Kino Lorber.

While the film is clearly intended to be an “inside” look at itself and the art of making movies, the meta take on the film is even more meta than the original One Cut of the Dead (2017) and plays to less success. Asking audiences to watch a movie, then the making of, and finally watching audiences (or executives in this situation) watch the movie again is pushing the boundaries of what audiences can tolerate, and the over-the-top meta message and style gets ultimately lost in the mix. The original One Cut of the Dead also had a similar meta approach but succeeded as it wasn’t necessarily done before and was something new and exciting to the genre, whereas by the time Final Cut has made its presence known, I feel like I’ve seen this movie already half a dozen times, unfortunately.

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L-R: Grégory Gadebois as Philippe/Hosoda and Matilda Lutz as Ava/Chinatsu in FINAL CUT. Photo courtesy of Kino Lorber.

What does work well in the film, though, are the performances and the actors’ abilities to be film school rejects almost in a way and deliver some of the most bewildering performances. Romain Duris (All the Money in the World) playing Remi/Higurashi is completely unhinged and embodies the horror stories you hear of behind-the-scenes nightmares, while Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) as Nadia/Natsumi is the comic relief throughout this entire chaotic adventure. Our leading zombie in Raphael/Ken, played by Finnean Oldfield (Corsage), manages to exude such confidence and gravitas while his performance seems to be something that certainly leaves much to be desired, and, lastly, Ava/Chinatsu, played by Matilda Lutz (Revenge), is unable to perform under such strenuous circumstances and is getting chewed out by her director. It is clear everyone in this cast is having a lot of fun and bringing forth what they’re hoping is a brain-grabbing good time. The actors are not bad in their roles, to be clear, its their performances being intentionally bad that makes them great. They’re all doing something that takes a certain level of talent to make it so believably silly and insane that it works.

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A scene from FINAL CUT. Photo courtesy of Kino Lorber.

Final Cut takes a more meta approach to One Cut of the Dead and manages to lose its audience in its now-seemingly overdone form and telling. While the behind-the-curtain approach is always one that is entertaining and works to various degrees, Final Cut brings some laughs but ultimately only works if you’ve seen One Cut of the Dead, and, even then, also pushes the boundaries a little too much. While Final Cut is fun and entertaining, it is the creation, behind the scenes, and again creation that pushes the audience too far for entertainment value.

In theaters July 14th, 2023.

For more information, head to the official Kino Lorber Final Cut website.

Final Score: 3 out of 5.

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.

Final Cut - Poster

Categories: In Theaters, Reviews

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1 reply


  1. Explore writer/director Michel Hazanavicius’s wonderful satirization of cinematic remakes via horror/comedy “Final Cut” via home video. – Elements of Madness

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