If there’s any genre that feels like it’s on life support for the criminally uncreative, it’s the zombie horror subgenre. Warm Bodies however injects some much needed vitality with it’s novel Romeo and Juliet archetype which works surprisingly bloody well.
When R – a zombie that’s a little different from the rest – rescues a female survivor of the undead apocalypse during a routine feeding, he begins to recover some of his humanity and a romance blossoms. But, how long can he keep her hidden before his fellow zombies discover her presence?
Warm Bodies isn’t a typical zombie flick so don’t expect more of the same if that’s what you’re into. I hate to say this as I’m opposed to movie dates, but Warm Bodies makes for a great outing as it caters to many tastes.
The Bottom Line
So what makes Warm Bodies different from the horde? The first little bite of innovation is that the story is told from the perspective of the zombie with his internalised dialogue and occassional grunts and words…yes these zombies can speak a little. I can’t recall seeing a movie that adopted this concept before and have to admit that while disconcerting initially, it won me over rather easily. It’s also refreshing be given the scoop on what it would be like as a person trapped in the body of a zombie – a role that Nicholas Hoult portrays authentically and magnetically.
Easily what makes Warm Bodies such a charming little title is how varied the story is. The film was based on the novel of the same name and incorporates a wide variety of tongue-in-cheek comedy, romance, and even some creepy horror moments, but it is defined by none of them and while occasionally scattered, it provides a fresh cinematic experience, not just in concept but in execution (certainly a rarity among movies these days).
Zombies are arguably the easiest character types to act for – their behaviors are so ingrained in popular culture that fun walks around the world are dedicated to participants acting like the undead, but Warm Bodies features a different breed, one that requires a bit of personality. Thankfully the cast rises to the occasion and even with a little over-acting from Nicholas Hoult and Rob Corddry, the performances are more comical than absurd.
In a cinema landscape that’s only solution to the undead seems to be a bullet to the cranium, Warm Bodies is like the John Lennon of zombie films – winning the battle with love, not war. Yes the idea may be strange when contrasted to humanity’s tendency to deal in absolutes but in our modern day society, a bit more of this is a good idea. It reminds me of a little Canadian indie zombie flick called Fido, the climax of which is that Zombies have an inherent humanity in spite of their thirst for brains, all it required was a little compassion and one very special zombie; so too is this approach reflected in Warm Bodies. It appeals to my inner hippy in the most profound way and in spite of it challenging the conventions of horror cinema, it will likely only leave a mark on the art house crowd, because for every film like this, there are hundreds of typical zombie shoot-em-ups.