I’ve been hearing nothing but RAVES for this zombie flick. Juan of the Dead, (2011) written and directed by Alejandro Brugué, has won eight audience awards since making the festival rounds, and honestly, the kind of awards where fans and viewers all get a vote gain my trust the most. An early pitch sold it as “Cuba’s first horror film.” I’ll take their word for it!
Juan of the Dead was featured in a recent issue of Fangoria magazine with (I believe) the Fangoria Seal of Approval(™). A review from someone I trust, who saw it at a festival début, said if it had in a traditional theater showing with a traditional audience, he was so vocal that someone would have complained about him to an usher, and he might’ve even been asked to leave. Instead, the VERY live fan crowd howled and cheered through the entire movie. That’s sure as hell good enough for me! Here’s the Red Band trailer.
Here’s the official lavishly written plot synopsis, fresh off the official movie site…
Juan is 40 years old, most of which he spent in Cuba doing absolutely nothing. It’s his way of life, and he’s prepare to defend it at any cost, along with his pal Lázaro, as lazy as Juan but twice as dumb. Juan’s only emotional tie is his daughter, Camila, a beautiful young girl that doesn’t want anything to do with her father because the only thing he’s good at is getting into trouble.
Suddenly some strange things start to happen, people are turning violent attacking one to the other. Juan was first convinced it’s just another stage of the Revolution. Official media refer to the attacks as isolated incidents provoked by Cuban dissidents paid by the US government. Little by little Juan and his friends start to realize that the attackers are not normal human beings and that killing them is quite a difficult task. They’re not vampires, they’re not possessed, but they’re definitely not dissidents; a simple bite turns the victim into other violent killing machine and the only way to beat them is destroying their brains.
Juan decides that the best way of facing the situation is making some money out of it…
“Juan of the Dead, we kill your beloved ones” becomes his slogan. Lázaro, along with his son Vladi, and Camila (who had no other choice but joining her father after he rescued her from grandma´s killing desires) are Juan´s army, and their mission is to help people get rid of the infected ones around… at a reasonable price.
But this plague of bloodthirsty attackers is out of control. The population is helpless. There comes a moment in which the only way out people found is throwing into the sea and try to run away from an island that became a real carnage, and Juan has no choice but to do what he avoided all his life: take some responsibility assuming a hero role, to guide his beloved ones with the hope of getting them safe out of the madness in which Havana, full of flesh-eating zombies has turned.
Here’s the teaser, longer than most traditional teasers, and a pretty clever one at that:
How do you see it, we both ask? Well, the movie is on the festival route now (you can also check the somewhat plaintively titled section “WHERE?” on the official Juan of the Dead site , which is packed with info and fun stuff, by the way). Guess what, though? It will hit digital VOD platforms from Focus World next August. Uh… wait, this IS August! It better be available somewhere to watch FAST when it hits digital VOD (which it hasn’t yet, at least on Comcast, and surprise surprise, Netflix doesn’t even have a fucking availability date).
By the way, there’s an entire You Tube channel created by the film-makers, which I’m guessing has enough behind-the-scenes, making of, and Q&A footage that it adds up to at least the running time of the film. I didn’t see any major spoilers, either, so if you have time for the movie but no way to watch it yet, the You Tube Channel for Juan of the Dead should hold you over temporarily! Until then…