With the zombie genre growing seemingly more popular every year, all across the globe, I suppose it’s inevitable that every country will come out with at least one zombie movie to satisfy the worldwide hunger. After last year’s The Dead from Africa, and countless classics from places like Italy, New Zealand, and the US, it’s fitting that Cuba has become the latest country to join in on the resurgent popularity of the zombie movie.
Juan of the Dead is a zombie opus from writer/director Alejandro Brugués starring Alexis Diaz de Villegas as Juan, an unassuming loser who get caught up in the zombie apocalypse. His best buddy Lazaro (Jorge Molina) and Lazaro’s son Vidal California (Andros Perugorria) and Juan’s daughter Camila (Andrea Duro) are along for the ride. With all the different zombies that have been made, in so many different countries, it’s a wonder more of them aren’t similar. Just from the title, most people equate Juan of the Dead to being a Shaun of the Dead rip-off, and while they have some similarities (the main friendship, the fact that they’re slackers) the two movies are really quite different, even if they have similarly corny approaches to the zombie apocalypse.
However, there are more than a few sequences in this film that are worth the price of admission alone, including one sequence where literally thousands of extras chase the main characters down. There is another sequence where Juan stumbles through the street, with the zombie apocalypse in full swing, people are being eaten all over, and it is complete chaos, but the sequence looks huge in what has to be a moderately budgeted film. The entire thing is a single steady-cam shot, and while there might be an invisible cut or two, I wasn’t aware of them, and the entire sequence is one of the most intense, and coolest zombie sequences in any movie ever.
The story remains predictable as far as zombie conventions go, but there are some of the most creative kills I’ve ever seen in a zombie movie, which is one of the biggest things fans of the genre come looking for. Gore hounds won’t be disappointed, those looking for comedy won’t be disappointed, and the story is serviceable enough to keep even fair weather horror fans interested in whats going on. Not perfect, but for a low budget film, it had incredible production values, tons of fun zombie kills, and lovable characters. This one will hit US VOD from Focus World (a division of Focus Features) on August 14th, so be sure to check it out if you’re looking for a fun new zombie movie and don’t mind subtitles.