directed by Jonathan LevineFew zombie films focus on the love lives of the undead, so this romantic comedy shambles over relatively untrodden ground. It's the story of R (Nicholas Hoult), who grunts and moans through his desperately grey unlife with little recollection of anything, until he meets Julie (Teresa Palmer), a human survivor. Unfortunately they meet while he's munching on the brains of her ex-boyfriend, a process that allows R to absorb his memories, which makes him feel considerably more human.
But R isn't like all the other zombies, and so he decides to rescue Julie from the hungry zombies and take her back to the aeroplane he calls home. The other zombies are telling him he should eat her, but he resists. There isn't that much made of R's hunger, and he is protecting her by hiding her away in his place. It's really a plot device to allow the zombie and human to spend some time in each other's company. However, there is a slight creepiness about the way he whisks her away from everyone else, almost like he's abducting her.
There is a certain beauty and the beast vibe about this story. R can hardly speak, but his interior monologue is pretty amusing, particularly when it comes to his difficulty talking to and making a good impression on Julie. Overall the film didn't make me laugh out loud, but it has a warm, tongue-in-cheek way of looking at the world of dating.
Julie's father Grigio (John Malkovich) is a hard nut, and he's liable to shoot R on sight because he's a zombie. So he's the last person R wants to meet, but it's also very easy to see his point of view. Grigio just wants to keep his daughter safe from undead, brain-munching hoodlums who can barely string a sentence together.
Then there are the bonies, those zombies who have stripped off their flesh in an act of despair and become completely inhuman. These creatures are separate from the regular zombies, because they seem to have passed a point of no return and become dead to all human emotions. They are far more dangerous than the others, and as events are set in motion they pose a threat to the remaining humans.
Warm Bodies has a very predictable plot, but even though it's obvious it's still an enjoyable journey to take. The main character is very likeable. He's protective without being stalkerish, vulnerable without being wet, and monstrous in an extremely cute way, rather like Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands. This is perfect fodder for a date movie. It's simple, sweet and predictable, and, like the name implies, it's designed to leave viewers with a warm glow.
21st July 2013
Review © Ros Jackson