Warm Bodies, Warm Hearts

Cameron Hines

The zombie genre (and please forgive my horrible pun) has been in need of some life. After such travesties like Resident Evil, it’s hard to find recent inventive, emotional takes on the zombie genre besides ParaNorman and Zombieland.

When I first heard the description of Warm Bodies, I wrote it off instantly: a story about a girl who falls in love with a zombie? That just sounds like a horrible knock-off of the Twilight franchise. However, that description doesn’t do the film justice, thanks to an inventive script and some strong performances all led under the thoughtful hand of director Jonathon Levine.

In a world infested by zombies, the humans have built a wall around themselves to keep the zombies out. One such zombie is R, played by Nicholas Hoult. R, while he is a zombie, has a running monologue with the audience in his head that gives his character personality besides his shambling and staring; it’s a great twist to the zombie genre. We soon learn that apart from his lone friend M (a delightful Rob Corddry), R has little going for him.

On a hunting trip with fellow zombies, he comes across human Julie, played by Teresa Palmer, who he falls for. He rescues her from the other zombies in his horde and brings her back to his bachelor pad where he attempts to befriend her. As their friendship blossoms though, they are met with resistance, not only from other zombies but also humans. Julie’s father, played by the always great John Malkovich, is the president of the quarantined city, and he has a zero tolerance policy for zombies.

What makes the movie so good is the chemistry that Palmer and Hoult have, as she slowly learns that he has no desire to harm her and begins to bring life back into his life. Their relationship sparks a revolution, and soon other zombies want friendships too.

The movie really shouldn’t work when you think about it, but thanks to some good performances, a funny and heartfelt script, and excellent direction, Levine makes this movie work.

It’s a unique take on the zombie tale, almost to the point where it’s just a romance movie with zombies in the background. Its message may be a bit spoon-fed, but it’s done in such an earnest way that it’s hard not to enjoy the film.