Actors: Alexis Díaz de Villegas, Jorge Molina and Andrea Duro
Synopsis: Juan is a typical forty-year-old slacker. One day Havana begins to fill up with zombies. Juan decides that the best way to cope with it is to prosper. "Juan of the dead killed their loved ones" is his slogan, and his mission is to help people get rid of those infected around them ... for a price. But the situation gets worse -- while everyone is escaping to sea as a means to get away, Juan is left with no choice but to become a hero, staying to defend his country and protect his own on an island that has turned into a real bloodbath.
With a name like Juan of the Dead, one can't help but compare it to Shawn of the Dead. Despite it having a similar (translated name) it is unfair to call this the Cuban Shawn of the Dead. They do have some similarities. like slacker main character with his fat friend, when the zombies hit they have to go save a loved one, comedic elements, etc. With this in mind I would actually say that this movie is quite different even with the similarities.
The biggest difference is that Juan of the Dead is not a comedy-horror. It has moments where it is funny which add to the overall feel of the movie but it is more like a traditional zombie flick in that its more about the characters than it is about the zombies. The zombies themselves look great. They use a mix of fast zombies and slow zombies but the fast ones aren't full out runners just actually can move a bit quicker than normal. They also have the ability to climb albeit not very well. A few times they also exhibit a bit of super strength by breaking down doors but that could honestly mean they don't feel the pain of blasting their way through.
Only once do they refer to the zombies as zombies by an English speaking character that nobody understands due to not knowing English. The news programs call them "dissidents" trying to take down Cuba's government. While this is obviously untrue, the government keeps spouting this propaganda to try to keep order. The movie is making a statement on life in Cuba and although it's not the first zombie movie to contain social commentary it was nice to see a return to that type of zombie flick. With that said, this is not really suspenseful or scary. It is actiony drama film with the underlying look into Cuba.
The story is where this movie has its identity. Unlike most films of this genre the characters don't lock themselves up in one place waiting for help, only to eventually realize that no help is coming and then try to find safe refuge when their supplies run low. Instead Juan tries to make money off the outbreak. He sets up a service to kill loved ones that have turned zombie. He does this to try to win back the love of his daughter who hates him due to his previous indiscretions as a lowlife. The entire movie he tries to impress upon her that he is a changed man. Some elements of the film are kind of cliche but still overall a unique take on the zombie flick.
All in all this is was a wonderful take on the zombie genre. This will be considered one of the classic zombie flicks from those that do manage to see it.