An interesting thing about Juan of the Dead is that at the time of writing, on a certain website which lists every film ever made ever one of the plot keywords is “penis”. Why this is I have absolutely no idea. I mean there are a few moments which would elicit the mention of peni (more than one penis) but its hardly the main theme of the film. I was on that website because I have to research these posts don’t you know, I cant just write any old crap and think I can get away with it…. Wonky keywords aside this is a brilliant film. Literally the best zomcom I have ever seen, better than the genre defining Shaun of the Dead even, and that is high praise indeed. The master-stroke here is to actually ignore the fact that zombies are scary at all, just forget the cheap scares as they smash through doors and just make everything hilarious instead. The film follows Juan as his city turns to rubble, however whilst the majority of the population has been come bloodthirsty brain dead killers him and his friends are still doing what they know best, trying to make some fast cash. The single best thing about this film is this – the Cuban government tries to allay panic by blaming the U.S.A for the zombie infestation, and labels the infected “dissidents”, cue panicked citizens running through the streets screaming that their arm was eaten by a political provocateur. The film has a lot to say about Cuba, or should I say the films characters have a lot to say about it, they talk about their country in the same way we talk about the weather. What we can infer from this I don’t know, because I am not Cuban, nor do I know a great deal about the country, even though I watched Che (parts one and two) but I do think that whilst this was just a great comedy zombie film for me it might have held much more for a Cuban viewer, even if just to laugh at the in jokes. Social commentary. Because I am writing about this immediately after Zombieland it seems fair to draw comparisons, both are about the unifying nature of the zombie apocalypse, both conclude that ultimately with the right people you can survive anything, but whilst Zombieland did it all with a smile Juan does it all with a big heart, a tiny budget and a huge belly laugh – and perhaps the most poignant zombie ending we have seen in a while.
Juan Of the Dead