Juan of the Dead (Juan de los Muertos) Review

Movie: Juan of the Dead (Juan de los Muertos)
By: Maniac E
Date: April 26, 2012

A new Revolution is about to begin

Well the title might not be really orginal and almost gimmicks Shaun of the Dead. Juan of the Dead is a Cuban zombie comedy which tries to e on top of its game. The name and genre are rather identical to Shaun of the Dead, but if that puts you off in any way let's clear it up right now, this film may have those basic comparisons, but it makes its own mark on this small sub-genre, wanting to proof Shaun isn't the only funny zombie killer out there.

Fortysomething Havana slacker Juan (Alexis Días de Villegas) is an amiable ne'er-do-well whose wife and child left him for greener pastures abroad long ago. He and perpetually horny dim-bulb friend Lazaro (Jorge Molina) scrape by through variably legal odd jobs including fishing; when they reel in a ravenous zombie, their curious response is no more than a shrugged "Let's not tell anyone about this."

Juan of the Dead

It's everyone's business soon enough, though, as an undead epidemic begins decimating the city's population shortly thereafter. In the screenplay's most amusing stroke, government authorities and media immediately insist the marauders are merely "dissidents" bent on undermining the communist state at the behest of a certain evil empire just up north. Their sticking to that party line, no matter how dire things get, is an inspired running gag; subversive nods to Cuba's perpetually broken-down infrastructure and make-do citizenry are also good for some chuckles.

Juan of the Dead

While the movie is far from great, it tries to show us the zombie heart in this one is big. I must admit that the makers of the film did know how to chop their zombies in a good way. But fairly plotless hijinks ensue, with occasional good lines and one great little setpiece (a unique mass-zombie beheading) outweighed by homophobic and otherwise puerile jokes and routine slapstick. Obviously this isn't Noel Coward, but Brugués could have aimed a little higher; there's precious little wit, originality or cinematic style even attempted here, though the energy level remains decently high.

Juan of the Dead

While the kills in the movie are good the dialog that seems to keep on thrown into the viewer's pupils are just taking the flow out of the movie. In the beginning of the movie it shows us a bit of story but later on it just turns into pointless talks that end up nowhere. And I myself found this dragging the movie along and just really influences the end score. Amongst all the humor and gore is a real message and astute representation of a country Brugués is trying to show us. All the situations on screen are things he sees in his native home, just with added zombies. It is a novel little film that in every way is ambitious, but partly succeeds in what it really wants to be. It's a shame this film will have to compete with comparisons to Shaun because it shouldn't have to, it is good in its own right.

Juan of the Dead

Juan of the Dead is a good movie if you are open towards the whole concept of seeing things that you have already seen before. It never really gives us the revolution that is promised in the marketing slogans. But there are things to enjoy with this movie and I think most people could open up for this Cuban movie. All in all not a bad try at all.

Night of Terror 2012 special



Juan of the Dead (Juan de los Muertos)


Juan of the Dead (Juan de los Muertos)


Alejandro Brugués






Alexis Díaz de Villegas, Jorge Molina and Andrea Duro