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OFF Review: Zombies and Cigarettes

January 28, 2010

Disclaimer: I thought that “Zombies and Cigarettes” was a feature film, not a short, when I first picked it up.  That said, I look at this movie as more of a preview of what the directors are capable of, a great example of a calling card film.

The special effects and the production are quite good.  Rafa Martinez and Iñaki San Román, the directors, have a nice eye and were able to coax good performances from all of the actors involved.  The Zombies are completely creepy.  Much like the zombies in “28 Days,” they are fast and they want to eat your sweet flesh. The film is subtitled and filmed in Spain and a comic moment in the film is when someone shouts with surprise, “Zombies en espana?”

As a die-hard Romero fan, the mall was a nice homage to what I still consider the greatest zombie movie ever made, the original” Dawn of the Dead”.  I thought that their take on zombies is current to what is being presented by the big studios now; adding the Romero setting was a great mix of both the old and the new.

My only real criticism is that I thought the lead character was weak.  While I feel pity for any poor shlub who finds himself on the menu of a zombie horde, I didn’t really care too much about seeing another mildly attractive guy pine over a girl way out of his league.  However, looking back maybe that’s the point, without spoiling anything, maybe the directors don’t want you to root for him.

It has love, betrayal, and a fight to the death; not bad for 15 minutes.

“Zombies and Cigarettes” plays at the Oxford Film Festival on Thursday and Friday at 10 p.m.

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