At first glance, Warm Bodies has very little reason to exist and should be a failure of a film. First of all, it takes the “Twilight” route of changing a classic horror creature and romanticizing it. Second, using the zombie apocalypse as a theme has been done to death. Finally, it has the unfortunate stance of being measured against Shaun of the Dead (one of my favorite movies of all time) as the only other “romantic comedy with zombies” to hit theaters.
And yet…it works!
While Warm Bodies does take somewhat of a “Twilight” route with zombies, unlike Stephenie Meyer’s series it treats the mythology with respect and actually incorporates tropes of classic zombie stories (ex: the desire for brains) in a very intelligent manner. Any changes made are overall superficial, and in one instance can be considered an improvement: the evolution of “zombies” into “boneys” (black skeleton zombies vaguely reminiscent of the xenomorphs from the Alien franchise crossed with a human body).
The romance between self-aware zombie R (Nicholas Hoult) and Julie (Teresa Palmer), while hard to swallow at face value, is strangely believable and touching given the amount of time the two spend together. Not to mention, a well-developed chemistry is apparent throughout. Yeah, chemistry with a zombie…who knew? R is brilliantly portrayed by Hoult both visually and though inner-monologue, and Julie is nowhere close to being a damsel in distress as the rebellious daughter of Colonel Grigio (John Malkovich).
When all is said and done, there’s very little depth to Warm Bodies. It’s very simple and straightforward, which works to its benefit because it allows for a balance between zombie horror themes and a surprisingly subtle Romeo & Juliet theme. In its simplicity however, lies its greatest weakness: lack of explanation. There are several key events that work and seem logical until you stop and ask “Why?” I can’t go into detail without major spoilers, but most of these have to do with how zombies and “curing” them works.
The lack of explanation and clarification, while a significant flaw, does not take away from the overall enjoyment of Warm Bodies. While the themes aren’t particularly original, it hits all the right notes in terms of humor with a touch of horror, and the actors and writer/director Jonathan Levine certainly gave them new life on the big screen.
I give Warm Bodies: 4/5
Whether you see it in theaters or wait until it’s released on DVD/Blu-ray, I highly recommend this film.
I’m Papa Kenn, and I’ll see you next review!
Origin Material/Book: “Warm Bodies” by Isaac Marion
All copyrighted images used under Fair Use. If you are a copyright holder and believe your material has been used unfairly, please contact me at: