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A successful debut can be a curse for any filmmaker, and they don’t come much splashier than “One Cut of the Dead.” Produced on the cheap with a no-name cast, Shinichiro Ueda’s inventive zombie comedy achieved phenomenal word-of-mouth buzz after its initial release in 2017, eventually earning over 1,000 times its original budget.

It was always going to be an impossible act to follow, and his sophomore feature — after sharing a directing credit on “Aesop’s Game” earlier this year — is a let-down so inevitable it barely even comes as a disappointment. “Special Actors” shares the plucky DIY spirit of its predecessor, but misses its structural playfulness, poignancy and knowing humor. If it’s not quite dead on arrival, it doesn’t feel very special either.

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