Saturday, 20 April 2013

Review - Juan of the Dead (2011 - Dir. Alejandro Brugués)




Juan lives in Cuba. And zombies attack. This is a comedy zombie outing and a fair few of the jokes come from the setting. When the zombies first appear, they are labelled as 'dissidents' paid by the American government. Which raises a smile. As does Juan's plan to actually make money from the zombie outbreak.


Some of the comedy doesn't quite work. One character faints at the sight of blood. One character faints at the sight of blood. One character faints at the sight... You get the idea. Their solution to his problem is funnier than him constantly fainting. There is a joke towards the end of the film, between Juan and his best buddy Lazaro, that is funny, but it takes so long to tell it and it slows the film down so much, (at a time when a little pace needs injecting) that there was possibly a good case for the director to 'murder his darling' and delete this scene.


Juan of the Dead is obviously not that large of budgetness but there are a couple of large zombie hoard scenes that are quite impressive. Seeing el cubana zombi charging about on the rubble strewn Cuban streets is atmospheric. The setting, resplendent in urban decay, adds much to the appeal of the film. As does the main character Juan (Alexis Díaz de Villegas) who understates most of the humour, making it funnier.


The end sequence morphs into a graphic novel style (that's 'comic' for people unashamed to use this dirty word). I was initially disappointed by this but it grew on me and the final shot convinced me. It would have been too cheesy done as live action. (Emmenthal I think...)


This is not a gory film. Not even as gory as Shaun of the Dead. But it doesn't really need to be a flesh-tearing extravaganza, it has found its niche in the territory of gentle political (and occasionally filthy) humour. Entertaining but distinctly average.
5/10
evlkeith

(Average score for the season so far = 5.9)


If you like this you could also try:
Return of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead, Cold Sweat.



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