Warm Bodies (dir. Jonathan Levine, 2013) – After saving Julie during his hunt for brains, zombie R finds the cure he has been looking for.
Love never dies but verges on ridiculous peculiarity, fun in its own eccentric fashion.
Hardly sentient corpses who feed on their own kind – zombies are prolly the last thing on the list to romanticise. But that hardly seems fair, when forbidden romance with bloodthirsty shape-shifters are all the rage. Judging from the reception of World War Z, a Zombieland 2.0, and the forever Walking Dead, it is clear that the genre would never stay dead for long. One certainly has to consider, why the hell not.
So we get Warm Bodies, a reinvention of the genre in an eclectic mish-mash. As absurd as it sounds, the rom-zom-com does not clamour for brains. Wit à la Shaun of the Dead is not to be found. More quirky than dark, the film sets itself apart by stitching up a rather loose definition of ‘zombies’.
Given speaking roles, they behave less like zombies and lean towards being Goth Anonymous, with a side of serious social anxiety issues. With its fairly ludicrous tone, the eccentricity ventures far enough to proclaim love as the cure to the infection.
A collective sigh later, we see the little bright spots in the optimistic fairy tale. Charm is found in its leading dead man walking. Able to grunt a word but not more than two, Nicholas Hoult’s awkward teenage zombie R narrates his thoughts as well as his regressing mind allows him to. From his perspective, the clever reversal of roles makes him possibly the most empathetic zombie in film history. Rob Corddry as his undead best friend M is not quite as thoughtful, but it is hard not to love the funnier of the pair.
Both look almost human when they stand alongside the computer re-animated ‘Boneys’. These are the zombies that we might be more acquainted with; they kill without being conflicted about it. But there is little danger in the battle, when we are constantly reminded that this is less a zombie film than a coming-of-age tale.
Offbeat humour makes for light entertainment. It also helps that the action plays over a great music selection including Guns N’ Roses and Scorpions. Drawing parallels to Romeo and Juliet and stopping short of the tragedy, the romantic bits may warm some tender hearts. For others who expect a little more action, this may drag along like Romero’s shambling zombies.