Hell Comes to Havana

No, that’s not actually the title of a new horror movie, but it is a clue.  Juan Of The Dead is Cuban first .  Confused?  Read on for the disturbing details.

Out this week on DVD, Jaun Of The Dead is reportedly the first film  shot in Communist Cuba since the revolution without the financial support of the  Cuban government, and we find it hard to imagine that the Castro regime would  sign off on it anyway.  Part slapstick comedy, part horror film and part  political satire, the movie follows the exploits of Juan (Alexis Dias de  Villegas), a middle-aged layabout, and his oddball friends as they grapple with  a zombie plague invading their island homeland.  Seeing this as his shot at some  good old capitalism, Juan sets up a business in which he offers to put down your  reanimated family members and clean up the bodies for a fee, but he and his crew  prove less than competent at the job.

Written and directed by Alejandro Brugues, Juan Of The Dead is something  rare: a take on the done-to-death zombie genre that somehow feels fresh.  The  location certainly has something to do with it, as do the political subtext and  sly digs at authority: The government at first warns the populace that the  zombies are actually American dissidents trying to stir up trouble against the  regime.  It’s touches like this, along with the attention to character detail by  Brugues’ troupe of dedicated actors, that make this one of the better zombie  films in years.  At the heart of the story is Juan’s transformation from wastrel  to a man fighting to reclaim his country, while also re-establishing his  relationship with estranged, America-bound daughter Camila (Andrea Duro).

Of course, every zombie film these days shares certain conventions, and  “Juan” doesn’t shy away from wearing its influences proudly, with Shaun Of The  Dead and the Romero films the most obvious ones.  The movie’s clearly low-budget  production values are in evidence as well, mainly thanks to some sketchy CG, but Brugues still manages to pull off plenty of gore and some inventive ways to  slaughter humans living and dead alike.  If you’re looking for a variation on the  post-apocalyptic zombie tale that captures the genre’s much-vaunted  political/social subtexts as well as its inclination for black humor, check out  this festival favorite on disc now.

Source: http://paralleluniverse.msn.com/

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