Fantasia 2012: ‘Juan Of The Dead’ manages to overcome any zombie fatigue
Juan Of The Dead (Juan de los Muertos)
Directed by Alejandro Brugués
Screenplay by Alejandro Brugués
2011, Spain / Cuba
It seems every country nowadays feels the need to produce an epidemic/zombie film, something they can call their own. And so Cuba’s first zombie flick gives a distinct cultural perspective to breathe life into an over-saturated genre by playing with local political and social entanglements of Cuba’s past and present. With a blend of social satire ala George A Romero and the post-modern meta savvy of Edgar Wright, Alejandro Brugués’s Juan Of The Dead takes repeated swipes at almost every aspect of the country including Castro’s revolution to the overall general state of decay of an island starved of resources. Juan De Los Muertos, a Spanish-Cuban co-production features a terrific script that has fun with the nation’s air of democratic paranoia as Cuban authorities try to convince their citizens that the walking dead are political dissidents and part of an American plot to overrun the region. Que Juan, our titular character who senses a business opportunity and decides to cash in on the crisis by running a zombie-extermination service called “Juan of the Dead”. The easygoing optimist coins the slogan “We Kill Your Loved Ones”, and armed with whatever weapons made available (an oar, harpoon, machete, etc), he resists the infestation of flesh-eaters with a little help from his friends/employees.