Juan of the Dead
Dir.: Alejandro Brugués | Spain, Cuba 2011 | 96 min
The fact that 'Juan of the Dead' has even made it to our part of the world is in itself a small miracle, as all state-funded films from Cuba have to make it through a political eye of the needle, and if there is one thing a Cuban zombie comedy is, then it's political, but maybe the film's final message helped it along the way? Juan is a middle-aged slacker, who lives from hand to mouth, but years of laziness and a fear of taking responsibility have alienated the people closest to him. An attempt to make contact with his adult daughter is ruined when hordes of zombies destroy the idyll of the small island. But Juan for the first time sees a chance to show some entrepreneurial spirit and assembles a group of dubious characters, who accept payment to get rid of people's zombie-infected family members. "We kill your loved ones" is their motto. 'Juan of the Dead' is above all a zombie comedy, and a damned successful one at that, with plenty of witty dialogues, pitch-black humour and wacky murders. Of course, it refers to plenty of role models, not least 'Shaun of the Dead' and, above all, Lucio Fulci's 'Zombie', but its characteristic Cuban tone gives it a beating heart and turns it into a loving and original contribution to an otherwise somewhat dead genre.