Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 78% (Critics) / 64% (Audience)
Directed By: Alejandro Brugués
Written By: Alejandro Brugués
Starring: Alexis Díaz de Villegas, Jorge Molina, Andrea Duro, and Andros Perugorría
Studio: Outsider Pictures
Synopsis: A group of slackers face an army of zombies. The Cuban government and media claim the living dead are dissidents revolting against the government. (Source)
Zombie movies are known for being humorous but I think JUAN OF THE DEAD may be the first slapstick zombie movie. For the majority of the film none of the characters take the quickly expanding zombie apocalypse very seriously and neither does the movie.
I also thought it was a nice touch to have none of the crew of survivors ever realize that they are fighting against the living dead or even utter the term “zombie”. They spent the majority of the movie referring to the zombies as dissidents and anyone with even a shred of familiarity with the political climate of Cuba should understand where the humor in that reference comes in and just the overall satirical vibe regarding the Cuban government.
While the over the top slapstick was fun ti did tend to clash with the few moments of seriousness that were sprinkled throughout the movie. It is hard to go from Abbot & Costello style hijinks to suddenly ask the audience to care about a character making a heartfelt sacrifice. The juxtaposition of the tone was jarring and not all that successful.
I never really got a good feel for the group of survivors as characters because very little time or effort was spent to flesh these characters out beyond the most superficial character traits.
Final Verdict: For a slapstick zombie political satire, JUAN OF THE DEAD gets more right than it does wrong and can be forgiven its slip ups just due to the ambitious nature of what the filmmaker was going for with this movie. Worth a rental at the very least.