Juan Of The Dead REVIEW
Release Date: 4 May 2012 (a DVD release follows on 4 June)
15 | 92 minutes
Distributor: Metrodome Distribution
Director: Alejandro Brugués
Cast: Alexis Díaz de Villegas, Jorge Molina, Andrea Duro, Andros Perugorría
The living dead have been everywhere over the last couple of years, but they haven’t reached the sun-drenched socialist state of Cuba until now.
When perennial loser and small-time criminal Juan (Alexis Díaz de Villegas) and his best pal Lazaro (Jorge Molina) first encounter the living dead, they’re baffled. The government propaganda machine declares the undead are American-funded dissidents out to topple the regime, but as the situation escalates Juan and a band of survivors that include his daughter Camila (the gorgeous Andrea Duro) go into business as a zombie-slaying service for the people.
Right from the off, it’s clear that this isn’t your run-of-the mill zombie hack-fest. There are a lot of similarities to Shaun Of The Dead, especially when it comes to the loser-turned-hero Juan. The horror-comedy card is perfectly played, with the sharp – and filthy – script eliciting plenty of belly laughs and drawing attention away from the occasionally under-powered effects.
The spirited cast are a likeable, natural bunch, and Havana’s crumbling infrastructure is the perfect setting for the apocalypse, the city itself feeling like a resurrected corpse writ large. Alejandro Brugués’s direction is confident and ambitious and the action sequences imaginative, keeping you hooked even when the plot wanders a little.
A refreshing re-contextualisation of a genre that was beginning to feel more than a little tired, this is a Cuban revolution we can all get behind.
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