Film: Juan of the Dead

AKA Juan de los Muertos, 2011 horror/comedy film about a Zombie Apocalypse, filmed in, of all places, Cuba. The eponymous protagonist is a fortyish slacker who lives in Havana, eking out a living with occasional low-rent fishing expeditions with his friend Lazaro, and attempting to reconnect with his estranged daughter. When a zombie contagion starts spreading among the city's populous, he first ignores the problem, then rounds a few of his cohorts and establishes a for-profit zombie-killing service. Until, inevitably, events spiral further out of control, and the gang are forced to find a way to survive or flee the island..

Probably no real surprises plotwise, but the film displays a wacky sense of humor, and offers American viewers a rare look at life in modern Havana.

This film provides examples of:

  • The Ace: The English-speaking former aid-worker. Up until the moment Lazaro accidentally shoots him in the chest with his speargun.
  • A-Team Montage: Building the escape boat.
  • Bolivian Army Ending
  • Boom, Headshot: This being civilian Cuba, none of the main characters own guns. A zombie does get dispatched by a (blindly lucky) speargun shot to the head.
  • Camp Gay: La China is a flamboyant drag-queen.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: It turns out Juan served in the Cuban army in Angola, and he becomes a zombie-killing machine using his fishing oar as a weapon.
  • Driven to Suicide: Parodied in a scene where, following a dispiriting conversation with his daughter, Juan stands for a long moment on the edge of a tall building. It turns out he's steeling his nerve to jump down to a balcony below, so he can sneak into a married woman's apartment and have sex with her.
  • Dwindling Party: Subverted. China takes a bite and makes it back to Juan's building, only to die, turn, and need killing. Then Primo, proud of his great strength, breaks open a shelter, which turns out to have already been full of zom. They drag him in. Then Lazaro reveals he's been bitten, and it never broke the skin, so he'll live.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Gentle Giant: El Primo, sort of. He's immensely strong and willing enough to fight, but instantly keels over at the sight of blood.
  • In-Joke: Several jokes about the Cuban political scene will go right over the head of foreign viewers, one example being the phone call Juan gets about killing a cow: beef is so scarce in modern Cuba the penalty for the unauthorized killing of a cow can be greater than that for killing a human.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Juan, pretty much.
  • Lost at Sea: Parodied in the film's first scene, when it appears that Juan and Lazaro are in the middle of nowhere on their raft, only for it to be revealed that they are in Havana's harbor barely ten minutes from shore.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: When El Primo dies, Juan gets literally sprayed with blood.
  • Not Using the Z Word: Juan and his friends refer to them as "dissidents" or similar political malcontents, following an early government news broadcast labeling them as such. Dealing with their first zombie-kill, the gang first think the man is either a vampire or demonically possessed.
  • Pun-Based Title
  • Room Full of Zombies: The padlocked basement the gang breaks into.
  • Running Gag: Lazaro keeps accidentally shooting people (zombified or otherwise) with his speargun.
  • Scenery Porn: Intentionally or otherwise, the film does a good job of showcasing Havana, which is a very unique-looking city.
  • The Slacker: Juan, Lazaro and California all qualify, to varying degrees.
  • Sleep Cute: Juan and his daughter do a variation on this at one point.
  • Tempting Fate: Numerous examples in the dialogue:
    • "Look, Juan! A helicopter! They'll save us!" CRASH
    • "Too bad that building blocks the sunset." KABOOOOM
    • "How could this be any worse!?" The lights go out.
  • Threatening Shark: Inverted, in that a zombie threatening Juan and Lazaro while they are on their raft gets snatched away by a passing shark.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Lazaro. He somehow survives until the Bolivian Army Ending.
  • Watching the Sunset: Spoofed
  • "Well Done, Dad" Guy: Juan and Lazaro keep trying to connect with and impress their children.
  • Zombie Apocalypse
  • Zombie Gait
  • Zombie Infectee: Averted with Lazaro; he fairly quickly reveals he has been bitten, and it eventually turns out that the bite didn't penetrate the arm of the wetsuit he always wears.
    • Also the scene where Juan and his gang get seized by the army officer; despite all the officer's precautions, one of these gets loaded on board the truck, with the inevitable results.

Alternative Title(s):

Juan Of The Dead