By Hemanth Kissoon
“It’s not about the amount of fish we catch, it’s about having fun,” Juan.
If you’re going to meet an apocalypse head-on, what more beautiful surroundings than Havana? I’m loving that so many countries are embracing the zombie subgenre. Obviously the UK has given the world 28 DAYS LATER and SHAUN OF THE DEAD. There’s France’s THE HORDE, EVIL IN THE TIME OF HEROES from Greece, and THE DEAD shot in Africa and set in an undisclosed country from the continent. Among others. The quality is varying. The more culturally specific, and of course different, the better.
It appears that SHAUN OF THE DEAD has been used as a template. The titular Juan needs to learn responsibility and maturity; while his BFF Lazaro goes Nick Frost meets MEN BEHAVING BADLY. The movie isn’t afraid to be crass. There is gore and humour, but what let’s the side down is the whiff of bigotry, specifically misogyny and homophobia. It happens in a few places, enough to be noticeable, and is a real shame.
The enjoyment factor comes from the amorality – the lack of conscience for all the deaths, zombie and human. Learning a little from the master, George A. Romero, by adding a political commentary (though not quite satisfying) on propaganda, revolution and capitalism. His friends form a gang. The six of them are distinctly drawn from each other (in a John Hughes-BREAKFAST CLUB kind of way), though not invested with much personality let alone any real character. They decide to exploit the burgeoning undead Cuban epidemic with a business venture: “We kill your loved ones”. I think those holding the dosh in DRAGONS’ DEN might be impressed! The plot is thus slightly beyond the typical basic: survival.