Juan of the Dead (2012)
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Critic Reviews for Juan of the Dead
The 'Evil Dead' and Romero nods are fun, but characters appear for no reason and are bumped off without warning; there's just not enough flesh on these funny bones.
As a zombie picture, Juan of the Dead is merely OK. But as a satirical comedy of life in Cuba under Castro, it totally kills - and keeps coming back for more.
A silly and occasionally creepy zombie movie, but one that also dares to have a brain...
Not only is this movie funnier than "Shawn of the Dead", its obvious inspiration, it is proof that Cuba is not a totalitarian dungeon.
Audience Reviews for Juan of the Dead
This is the Cuban (!) response to Britain's Shaun of the Dead: A zombie comedy. Of course they do not reinvent the wheel with the plot and the elements are the usual ones you'd also see in a students horror productions, but the setting and the feel of it all is so different that the film works for most parts. There are quite a few genuinely funny scenes, lots of splatter and the usual parade of everyday characters: the fat, disgusting sidekick, the gorgeous kick-ass daughter, the womanizer son, but also: the drag queen and her muscle man who can't see blood. The make-up effects are quite decent for an indie production, the computer effects on the other hand look a bit cheap. Given the film's heritage it may not be surprising that there's quite a bit of commentary on Cuba, the USA, capitalism etc. if you are reading between the lines. The film decides to make fun of all sides. Overall pretty amusing, even if sometimes a bit amateurish. For fans of the genre.
As a Cuban version of 'Shaun of the Dead' this has a lot to compete with and if it doesn't hit the heights of that horror-comedy classic (or for that matter 'Zombieland') there is still a lot to enjoy here. The main group of 'heroes' are a lot less likeable than their British and American counterparts but the film makes it clear that life in Cuba under Castro's regime has hardened these people and sentimentality and compassion for your fellow man is a thing of the past. The fact that by the end of the film the main character has found his heart is perhaps predictable but still satisyfing. Laugh out loud moments include Juan's best friend and his haphazard way of firing his harpoon gun at the wrong moments, a bodybuilder who keeps fainting at the sight of blood so has to wear a blindfold when fighting and a novel way of decapitation that I imagine is similar to the way people produce crop-circles!
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