Zombies and Cigarettes is a 2009 Spanish short film by directors Rafa Martinez and Iñaki San Román.
This is a zombie comedy at heart, but doesn’t dilute the darkness and gore in favour of pushing the jokes to the forefront.
The plot revolves around a Spanish man called Xavi who finds himself in a shopping mall when a virus breaks out and turns most of the people into fast moving zombies. The film doesn’t give any real background as to the origins and cause of the outbreak, instead it opts to throw the viewer directly into the action.
This isn’t Xavi’s only problem, he also has a massive crush on a local girl who happens to be in the shopping mall at the same time as the zombie outbreak, and Xavi not only has to make sure that they both stay alive, but he wants to make sure he looks cool, calm, and composed while doing so in order to impress the girl
For a short zombie film, the quality of the film and the action scenes are pretty good – the cinematography is notably head and shoulders above most efforts you see in low budget short films of this ilk. The outbreak at the mall is kinetic and has a convincing sized crowd that you don’t usually see in low budget shorts. The gore and blood effects are also plentiful, with lots of effort clearly having been given to make-up.
The only real downsides is the script which (even for a short film) leaves too many open questions hanging in the air – such as, where the fuck did all the zombies go when they left the mall, and how did they all get out so quickly? The ending won’t be to everyone’s taste either.
These are minor quibbles, as the film is very watchable, and maintains a fast pace for the 17 minutes or so that it runs for.
The film was also a success on the Indie Film Festival scene and picked up numerous awards, and had many ‘official selections’ at film festivals in Europe and the US, including 2010 Sacramento Horror Film Festival, 2010 Atlanta Horror Film Festival and many more.
The film wears its influences on its sleeve for all to see, and the opening at the Mall has a real ‘Dawn of the Dead‘ feel, and the film also draws on the ‘lovable loser/everyman’ type character that provided the comedy and warmth in films like Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead.
Watch ‘Zombies and Cigarettes’ below: