|Original title:||Juan de los Muertos|
|Production country:||Kuba 2011|
|Running time:||Approx. 95 min.|
Juan (Alexis Díaz de Villegas) leads a pretty laid-back life in his native Cuba. With his best friend Lázaro (Jorge Molina), he enjoys doing sweet nothing and doesn't really plan on changing that. But then, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the revolution in Havana, mysterious dissidents turn up, apparently turned into bloodthirsty monsters by a virus. For the government it is clear: it must be a new invasion attempt by the USA. Juan tries to make the best of the situation. He offers relatives of infected people to dispose of their loved ones, who have mutated into zombies, professionally. But soon Juan and his non-infected friends are outnumbered; paddles and machetes seem insufficient as weapons against the zombies. But escape is out of the question for Juan. He will not be driven from his home so easily...
With Juan of the Dead, director Alejandro Brugués has fulfilled a childhood dream. Always, the filmmaker has been a great admirer of cinematic undead. So naturally, a zombie film of his own was an obvious choice. By blending his fondness for the genre with observations he made in his native Cuba, he's managed to create a very special zombie comedy. As a starting idea, Brugués asked himself what it would be like if the confrontation with the United States that Cuba has been preparing for for several decades now were to become a confrontation with zombies? Can the people of Cuba, who Brugués says have increasingly looked like zombies in recent years, be so easily distinguished from the real undead? And can socio-political satire, bloody slapstick and solid horror action be combined into a coherent whole?
The answer is clearly yes! Juan of the Dead isn't quite in the same league as zombie comedies like Shaun of the Dead, to be sure. But the rather unusual setting for this genre and some very original ideas make this flick a very entertaining treat. Admittedly, the transport of political criticism through zombie movies is a common stylistic device at least since the classic Night of the living Dead, which is again not exactly subtly used here. So here you can't really speak of great originality. It is rather the mixture of the satirical elements with the rather straight comedic parts and the despite low budget quite respectably implemented zombie fights, which drive the entertainment value of the film up.
Additionally, the director's obvious love not only for the zombie subject, but for film per se, lends a certain charm to the bloody goings-on that makes you, as an inclined genre fan, willingly overlook some of the weaker moments and shallower gags. Juan of the Dead may not have the cult potential of its great idols. However, a little breath of fresh air comes from Havana into the genre, which is currently enjoying great popularity again by representatives such as the series The Walking Dead. So if you like it undead, funny and a little whimsical, you should definitely go on a zombie hunt with Juan and his friends. Worth seeing
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp