I’ll admit something. Even though I don’t mind zombie films, I’m just not a big fan. Sure I think that The Walking Dead is well written and stuff like Night of the Living Dead are classics, it has been the same formula forever. Someone sees a zombie, runs, finds a group of survivors, talk, and defend themselves to the death. How many times can one do this formula? I don’t know, but it’s been too long. To me, a great zombie movie can not only bring out the great shoot-em-up violence that everyone wants, but it has to contain a certain amount of satire.
There have been some good zombie comedies like Army of Darkness. I only discovered it last year, and it may already be one of the best comedies around. But to really dwell into a fantastic joke, you need to think of something that really bothers you and deliver it in an entertaining fashion. One of those things for me are Twilight romances. Since that series, there have been many wannabe authors that have tried doing the same thing of writing something supernatural based and having the mythological creature (vampire, unicorn, demon, etc…) fall for an ordinary human. Warm Bodies is the parody of all of that.
The movie starts in an apocalyptic future where a zombie invasion has wiped out most of humanity and society has collapsed. At an airport are several herds of these creatures, waiting to find another brain to eat. One of these things is R (played by Nicholas Hoult). He is a rare zombie who still has thoughts, yet with not much he can do about it. In any other horror movie, he would be just part of the crowd, running towards humans only to get gunned down. Everything changes when a group of twenty-something’s come investigating, with something that R has never really thought about, romance.
Julie Grigio (played by Teresa Palmer) is caught among an attack when the rest of her friends are killed off including her boyfriend Perry (played by Dave Franco). R starts to feel a heartbeat when he sees Julie, so he vows not to eat her, and become her protector. Kind of like WALL-E, R has developed a personality of his own and takes Julie to his home, which is a plane. It’s filled with records and a place to sleep. To keep her safe, he spends time with her, finding himself more human as the days go by. His effect starts to have an impact on the other zombies, with the possibility of a cure found.
Warm Bodies is more then a heartbeat. It is a fully blooded pumping story that actually recognizes the true qualities of what makes a lot of the Twilight stories stupid, and has fun making fun of that. I like that R can speak through thought. That was actually something I haven’t seen in a zombie movie. And while they could have made him a straight up teen heartthrob, the movie gives him some great funny lines.
What surprised me what how much I was rotting for R and Julie to stay together. I’m almost embarrassed to say that because that would mean I was cheering alongside the rest of the girls in my theater. I was interested in how seriously they were taking this. But that’s what good about cinema; movies are supposed to be whatever they want for the audience. Some may see it as romance; I saw it as a satire. Though I would have wanted some riskier jokes then some obvious banter, I claim it as a compromise by the writers.
I’ll give this four zombie hearts out of five. The romance between R and Julie is like a twisted version of Romeo + Juliet. This may become an interesting date movie for the upcoming Valentines Day.