Plot: R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie who shuffles round all day and occasionally eats brains. When he meets Julie (Teresa Palmer) something happens which starts to bring him back to life. This would be fine if Julie’s dad (John Malkovitch) wasn’t a professional zombie killer.
What went through my head: Y’know, I just can’t resist a good zombie film. Or a bad zombie film for that matter, I’m a bit of a zombie junkie (a Zunkie? You heard it here first folks) and I have become quite the connoisseur on what makes an enjoyable Z-Movie. So when I’m presented with a movie which has a zombie protagonist, you can bet your ass I was intrigued.
Let’s first take a moment to rejoice that Nicholas Hoult is once again gracing our screens with his beautiful, beautiful face, even if it is slathered in zombie makeup, and then party some more because John Malkovitch is a gun-toting zombie slayer. Not to mention that Dave Franco also pops his head up for a few minutes. Now while Franco and Malkovitch don’t get anywhere near enough screen time, it is quite a joy to see what little we see of them.
But let’s be clear here, this is basically Romeo and Juliet with humans and zombies instead of Montagues and Capulets. I mean, their names are even R, and Julie, how much more obvious could it be? While I let that sink in, I also have to say that unlike most zombie films, this doesn’t have your usual saturation of zombie horror or zombies getting killed in increasingly inventive ways that has come to be the hallmark of the Z-Movie craze. This is a rom-com with zombies and yes, this proves slightly problematic where the excitement is concerned.
Due to the fact that we only have one human, Julie – the female protagonist – amongst the zombies for the majority of this movie, we can be quite certain that she’s going to be quite fine. And that’s where Warm Bodies loses the thing that makes zombie films so enjoyable – the group dynamic and the eternal question of ‘who’s getting their guts eaten next?’
Then again, due to the fact that this is a romance, the film explores more philosophical and existential ideas in place of chases and excessive gore. We get to think about some quite interesting questions and are presented with heart-warming answers in a way I was not expecting.
Verdict: In short, this is primarily a rom-com which also just happens to include zombies, rather than the other way around (as was done by Zombieland). A quite perfect date movie in just about every sense. I only wished I’d realised this before I went to see it with my best friend. However, a kick-ass soundtrack and pitch perfect jokes won me round in the end.
R: They call these guys Bonies. They don’t bother us much, but they’ll eat anything with a heartbeat. I mean, I will too, but at least I’m conflicted about it…
R: Don’t be creepy. Don’t be creepy. Don’t be creepy.