Juan of the Dead (2011) – Anti-Revolution Zombie Movie From Cuba
Well, this movie was a refreshing surprise: a foreign made Zombie film from Cuba that feels fresh. Fresh is hard to do with a genre like Zombie movies, but it was accomplished here. Filmed in Spanish with English subtitles, I had to stay alert, as Spanish is spoken faster than English and the subtitles didn’t stay on the screen long – luckily I have no issues with this, but I think a lazy reader might have issues – too bad: go back to school.
Taking place in modern day Cuba, Juan, a local popular lothario and his buddy, the bumbling Lazaro, low level dissidents looking to make a profit in a society that eschews such things, finds money making opportunities when Cuban society is hit with a massive zombie outbreak. The film starts with Juan and Lazaro floating on a raft, fishing with little or no luck until he hooks what appears to be a corpse, but turn out to be a zombie. This sets the stage for the rest of the movie, and also introduces us to Lazaro’s bumbling response with any sort of a weapon. over the next few scenes we get to know Juan and Lazaro through their interactions with each other and those around them. This movie has a great look to it and seems unique – this probably has a lot to do with the fact that it comes from Cuba – I don’t think that I have ever seen a film from Cuba before, let alone a zombie movie from Cuba.
Juan, seizing an opportunity when his city is over run with Zombies: he starts a business where he and Lazaro kills (re-kills, I guess), for a profit, family members that have become Zombies. A booming business.
Eventually though, Juan and Lazaro’s friends and family start dwindling as more and more are either destroyed by Zombies or become Zombies themselves. This means Juan and Lazaro must make decisions as to how they want to proceed.
I’m not going to say any more about the story, as it is a good one and I believe the only way I can do it justice is by telling you to see the movie. An original Zombie movie is rare. An original Zombie movie that is actually good is even rarer. Give this one a shot, as it really deserves it.
Check out the trailer here: