I am always very excited to see a new zombie film so the recent trend for ‘everything zombie’ resonates just fine with me. The idea of a zombie flick set in Cuba was always going turn heads and grab people’s attention and I was more than happy to give Juan Of The Dead (Juan De Los Muertos) a shot.
Juan Of The Dead is a zombie filled action/horror/comedy written and directed by relative unknown, Alejandro Brugues. The film stars Alexis Diaz de Villegas, Jorge Molina, Andrea Duro, Andros Perugorria. I had no idea what to expect from the film, and that’s probably among the reasons for me enjoying it so much.
Check out the synopsis.
“Juan is a typical forty-year-old slacker. One day Havana begins to fill up with zombies. Juan decides that the best way to cope with it is to prosper. “Juan of the dead killed their loved ones” is his slogan, and his mission is to help people get rid of those infected around them … for a price. But the situation gets worse — while everyone is escaping to sea as a means to get away, Juan is left with no choice but to become a hero, staying to defend his country and protect his own on an island that has turned into a real bloodbath.”
I’m just going to say it, Juan Of The Dead enters my top 5 list of best zombie films of all time. Hands down.
The action was great, the humour was magnificent and the political subtext of the plot gives it an authentic Cuban undertone that runs throughout the film. I can’t stress enough how fun Juan Of The Dead is. The story is terrific while the film is savvy enough to shine a light on the current zombie genre. The film also features some very well set up comedy gags. Oh and the zombie-slaying….
Inspired! Maybe it’s the rum? Maybe it’s the sun? Who knows? But damn! These Cubans are certainly innovative when it comes to dispatching zombies. Readers, beware, for I am about to describe the ‘Best Zombie death in Juan Of The Dead’ in the following paragraph.
Juan and his gang of zombie killing friends are surrounded in the open streets of the city by a horde of hungry brain dead zombies. Just as the horde encircles our heroes a truck appears with a massive harpoon gun mounted on the back. The harpoon fires through the zombie crowd at head height and the spear lodges into a lamppost. The driver starts circling the lamppost decapitating every zombie in the vicinity with the rope that is attached to the spear. Our heroes duck, of course, but I’d say the zombie kill count in that scene alone soars way above 100.
High kill counts are mandatory in zombie movies and Juan Of The Dead does not skimp in the department.
The actual quality and professionalism of the cinematography was far more impressive than what I had expected. The effects, scenery, and camera work are sublime and at no point did I think I was watching an amateur flick. Juan Of The Dead captures the flavour of Cuba perfectly. (I have first hand experience, I might add. Lovely place, sans zombies)
The interactions between Juan and his best friend Lazaro are priceless, veering at times from serious to side-splittingly funny.
In my humble opinion Juan Of The Dead can hold its head up high and stand up alongside greats like Shaun Of The Dead and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. It offers a brilliant new take on the zombie sub-genre. It’s a great popcorn movie and highly enjoyable. Massively recommeded.
Rumour has it that there will be sequel to Juan Of The Dead, and I, for one, dawn well hope so.
Juan Of The Dead is released on UK DVD on June 4th via Metrodome.