Warm Bodies is a darkly pleasant antidote to a genre completely stretched thin by bloody over-saturation. Its wide-reaching appeal transcends the film’s archetypal plot and creates a true gem of a film that shouldn’t be missed!
An unusual take on an archetypal romance, a ‘young’ zombie falls for a girl after saving her from an attack by other zombies and their love seemingly becomes a cure for a very lifeless world.
The Bottom Line
Warm Bodies is a goofy and romantic take on the zombie apocalypse and dares to ask if love can still be quirky and light-hearted at the end of the world? The answer is an overwhelming yes!
The story concerns a zombie named R who shuffles along after a zombie virus has ravaged the world. The living rely on an Orwellian militia led by an equally dystopian John Malkovich to safe-guard them from the undead horde. His own daughter is recruited into the ranks and fights as a zombie huntress but she harbours some authority issues. Pretty standard really, but nonetheless, as fate would have it, the two meet in one of the most awkward yet frightfully funny “love at first sight” sequences – zombies experience “life” in slow-motion.
The film completely spins the zombie apocalypse mythology on its head to create seemingly fresh metaphors from dead ones. No matter what your feelings for zombie films may be, this film engages the brain and heart enough to make you look past what’s on the screen and gaze right into the cold, beating heart of the story.
The movie is adapted from a book and is expertly handled by writer/director Jonathan Levine. He takes a gooey, sentimental mash-up and constructs something entirely stylistic and engaging. A lot of commendation goes to Nicholas Hoult who plays R. Zombie fumbling may be one of the most uninteresting things to watch but with the help of expert direction and the use of his own talent, Hoult adds a rare humanity to the blank stare of the zombie. In his wordless shrugs and change in body language, he speaks volumes and brings an elevated new approach to playing a zombie – not that I want to see Resident Evil zombies making out, I just appreciate the different approach in general. My single gripe about the film is its shoddy special effects but because of the film’s distinctive and peculiar approach, it can be easily overlooked.
Films like this are extremely important in that they make audiences think about stale genres and narratives in completely different ways and how an ingenious twist in a cliché story can make all the difference. Despite Warm Bodies quirky approach, it tackles an extremely profound issue: what makes life worth living? We know the answer here is the girl but the director gives this film enough decency and dignity that his warm-hearted approach is both serious and comical. And we all know its two opposites working together that make things more interesting.
If you missed Warm Bodies on the big screen, it’s never too late to get your cold hands on the DVD! This is essential viewing.