It started off as a tip, a reminder actually, from someone who has been to Cuba. She said "... you have to see this movie! And review it!" Title was jotted down and I made mental note to see it as soon as possible.
Then President Obama went on his historic visit to Cuba last week. I watched the news knowing that I was watching history in the making. Then I reminded myself, "Oh that's right, must watch Juan of the Dead."
That same week I was informed that yet more people I know had booked tickets to Cuba!
As I was walking to the library to drop off some items, thinking to myself, "My goodness, what is going on with all this Cuba business up in my grill lately..." and then I saw it. Sitting in the DVD section: Juan of the Dead.
Is this a sign?!?!?! I took it as one and promptly plucked this movie that Scream Magazine nailed by calling: "George Romero meets George Carlin" off the shelf.
Folks, this brilliant political gore fest is nothing short of fascinating, hilarious, sharp, and poignant. I LOVED IT.
Fascinating because I'm almost completely oblivious to the Cuban culture, Havana living, and life in Cuba in general. Although Cuban visitors had told me about the country, it was quite a new thing to see it through more than just the mind's eye. And it would appear that the directors and producers made it clear they wanted this city (Havana) to be seen through more than just a tourist's eyes.
Hilarious because this story had absolutely no qualms whatsoever to point out political absurdities and the ways in which Cuba (and the U.S.) has been shaped as a result of many years of turmoil. Here is where the George Carlin version of funny comes in - that or a moving article version of The Onion.
Sharp because Juan of the Dead is not necessarily a slap-stick horror film. This is a stabby film - and not just gore-related. The script is striking and ensures viewers stay on the edge of their seat, all while knowing there is a strong message being relayed. The characters are dynamic, original, and completely engaging. Here's where the George Romero horror comes in.
Poignant for all the reasons I've already given. You'll walk away from this film completely satisfied in the horror watching experience, and YET! Yet, you will likely also walk away with some new perspectives on many different topics.
I highly recommend this film! I am very appreciative of the recommendation to see it :)
If you are a fan of zombies, satire, blood, guts, and well played crude jokes, then this movie is a must see for you. If you are not a fan of these things then, well, I'm sorry for you.
Recommended pairing: watch in a dismal but comfortable setting. Pairs with rum and vibrant food. Watch with a small group of friends where ever possible.
I rented this film from my local library. Or use the links under Find It. Watch It. on Horror Habit's side bar to locate where else you can find this bloody, witty, look into a type of zombie world.