Warm Bodies is the genius comedy hit of 2013. Who would believe we could get the sarcastic wit and lovable charm from an American production filled with hungry moaning, stumbling zombies!? Writer/Director, Jonathan Levine has taken a couple of poles apart genres in Zombies and Romantic Comedy and meshed them together in such a way that we’re all going to be watching out for the one we want to eat.
Thrust into a post-apocalyptic world we find the last untouched humans are trying to protect their dwindling numbers behind high battle hardy walls in a small sector of the city. Their leader Grigio played by John Malkovich is bent on shooting Zombies in the head as fast as he can. His daughter Julie is in the front line with scouting teams that head out into the city for regular missions looking for medical supplies that may have been left behind by the undead. Australian actress Teresa Palmer is the right mix of beauty and self-sufficiency for this role playing just enough “I’m scared and need a hero” and a little bit of “I’m not afraid of the big bad zombie”.
The undead are caught in their own rat race with many living out at the airport terminal caught dragging their feet around each day killing time as it won’t kill them. Young Zombie ‘R’ played by Nicholas Hoult provides a brilliant narration of Zombie ‘thought’ to go with his ‘Mmmms’, groans and mutterings. It’s enough to give you a heart for the life of the those who can’t sleep but then you see what becomes of a Zombie who wastes away. Once they transform into ‘Bonies’ there is no return and these killers need to be stopped.
Our story changes when Julie and R meet in a head on collision of missions. With the Zombies out for dinner and Julie’s team collecting rare medical drugs and supplies it was never going to be pleasant with everyone being introduced in a small room with gun fire. In the midst of the Zombies picking off a dinner partner R sees Julie and floodgates of 80s love songs fill the air. It’s from here that R saves Julie by smothering her living scent with a few smears of Zombie bodily fluids in order to take her home to meet the folks. There’s a lot more to the story that will give you those ‘Aaah’ moments that are normally ‘Aaaargh’ in a Zombie movie.
While you may not be a big “Scare me silly with the Zombies” kinda movie goer, Warm Bodies may just change your thoughts. It’s hilarious in dry wit, great visual humour that may come from just a look and some brilliant lessons in comedy timing. Kudos goes to the very busy Rob Corddry who plays fellow Zombie ‘M’ and leader of the Zombie resistance.
It’s a shame this wasn’t out in time for Valentines Day but take your loved one as soon as it hits the theatre. Nicholas Hoult’s performance as a conflicted Zombie killer with a heart starting to beat again is epic but his paced counter Zombie intuitive narration is actually a highlight in itself. Watch carefully for some subtle ironies and social commentary that are woven in. Touching in a quirky and funny way, Zombie love exaggerates all the stupidity of courtship and makes you hope that Zombie Boy ‘R’ gets his girl. I’m giving Warm Bodies a 4 out of 5 popcorns because it’s simply a unique production, well delivered and the vinyl sound track was just the creamy icing on the cake.
Reviewed by: Andrew Pitchford