Sunday, November 1, 2015

31 Nights of Terror 2015 #37 - Juan of the Dead (2011)

Juan of the Dead (2011)
Director: Alejandro Brugués
Starring: Alexis Díaz de Villegas, Jorge Molina, Andros Perugorría
Format: DVD

Plot: A group of slackers face an army of zombies. The Cuban government and media claim the living dead are dissidents revolting against the government.

Another recent pick up at the Armageddon convention, this is one I've been wanting to see for a while now. I'm a huge fan of Shaun of the Dead, and the name of this movie is obviously meant as a reference to that. And it's Cuban - not sure I've ever seen too many Cuban movies.

Juan of the Dead isn't some kind of remake of Shaun of the Dead. It shares a common starting point in that a zombie apocalypse breaks out and our protagonists are probably the last people you'd want to have to rely on to save you during it. 

Like Shaun and Ed in the English film, Juan and Lazaro are just coasting through life, but a point of difference is that they are always out to make a buck, and try to cash in on the zombie outbreak by setting up a "zombie exterminator" type business. Also, whereas Shaun of the Dead has a romance at its heart, here the "loved ones" trying to re-establish their relationship are Juan and his estranged daughter.

I loved the many references to the Cuban lifestyle, especially how the government tries to pass off the zombies as "dissidents" who are working with the Americans.

In terms of comedy, Juan of the Dead is funny. I didn't find it as hilarious as Shaun, but it's still got some golden moments. I do wonder if maybe some of the comedic timing is lost because it's in Spanish and you're busy reading subtitles (the characters talk damn fast). But overall it's funny and has heart (Juan and Lazaro have great chemistry, which is key to making this movie work).

The special effects are pretty good. There's some good blood and gore and while some of the CGI is a bit dodgy overall it works well.

If you're a fan of horror comedy along the lines of Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland and Return of the Living Dead, you need to see this one.

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