Several years after the zombie apocalypse, a zombie named “R” spends his days wandering around an airport with his best friend, M. R cannot remember much about his life before becoming a zombie. Still, he can see memories from the brains of the people he eats. After encountering a pack of survivors looking for medical supplies, R kills and eats a man’s brain, whose memories include a young woman named Julie. Drawn to Julie, R saves her from the rest of the zombies, and the two begin an unlikely friendship that turns into something more… and may hold the key to resurrecting a rather lifeless world.
I’ve never really big a massive fan of the zombie genre. There are a few really great movies, but after the success of The Walking Dead, I feel like it became as oversaturated as the vampire genre. That being said, I really loved Warm Bodies. Sure, it’s another Romeo and Juliet adaptation, but combining it with comedy and horror and giving the zombies (or rather, one zombie) something of a conscience added a fresh take on the genre that was very much welcomed.
We get to see from a zombie’s perspective through R’s narration. Nicholas Hoult really delivers, both in his deadpan delivery and his zombie gruntiness as he struggles to put into words how he feels about Julie. Hoult and Teresa Palmer are really lovely on-screen together, and while Hoult clearly has the meatier role, Palmer does a great job with what she’s given, the reactionary to R’s world and the catalyst for his transformation back into a living, breathing human. The supporting cast is pretty great as well. John Malkovich does his best John Malkovich as Julie’s dad and commander of the surviving city, but the two standouts for me were Rob Corddry and Lio Tipton as R and Julie’s respective best friends coming to terms with this unlikely romance.
The theme of love reigniting the dead is not at all subtle here, but the movie is so freaking charming that you can’t help but buy all of the hope and tenderness it’s selling. People need each other, and they need human connection. Otherwise, they become walking, lifeless corpses. All it takes is one spark of love and… well, you get it. Even better than the heartfelt optimism? It’s genuinely funny, both in physical comedy and R’s internal monologue. The humor is subtle enough that it never feels overdone, and honestly, it’s so well placed within the story that it seems to soften the gruesomeness a bit, which, depending on who you are, may or may not be a good thing.
My only real nitpick of the film is that I was not a huge fan of the CGI “Boneys”. They’re zombies who have essentially given up their humanity and turned into… you guessed it, flesh-eating creatures that more or less resemble skeletons. They’re not as terrifying as they’re meant to be because they’re so obviously computer-generated. Other than that, I really, truly adored this movie. It’s well-acted and directed, and the soundtrack is fantastic. How many zombie movies are there that take us through a zombie apocalypse from the zombie’s point of view? How many times do we get to see zombies rediscover love and life and save themselves? Hell, how many times do we get to see zombies saved at all?
Warm Bodies is the perfect horror-zombie rom-com to watch around this time of year, and I highly recommend it!