In a somewhat light-hearted, end of days fairytale, a meta zombie named R wanders the halls of an abandoned shopping mall. R’s facetious inner monologue creates humor in an otherwise dry, mundane world, as he describes the other undead occupants of the area, including his companion M, with whom he exchanges incoherent grunts. After agreeing to search for food together through mumbles and nods, the pair head to a favorite feeding spot and partake in the usual mangling of flesh and dining of brains, only to find this day different than the others, for on this day, R met Julie. Destined to be morbid star-cross’d lovers, R ingested Julie’s boyfriend’s brains before spotting the object of his desire across the room. As the two become more involved, R finds his affections for Julie growing stronger, and his body warmer. Could it be that their connection has animated R’s cadaver? Or does he simply feel more alive around his newfound love?
Warm Bodies tries to be clever with its ‘dead boy meets girl, dead boy falls in love with girl’ premise, but this plot is all too familiar. Several horror films and shows have featured an ostracized monster coping with the woes of love and the struggle for humanity. Whether it True Blood, Twilight, An American Werewolf in London, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Thirst, Let the Right One In, etc., the idea of tortured romance between a supernatural being and a homo sapien has existed for some time. Of course, zombie love is a topic that hasn’t been completely conquered yet (unless you count Chillerama’s Zom-B-Movie), but the film fails to seize the opportunity to create an innovative relationship, and instead opts for a overdone, formulaic pattern.
Many fans of the horror genre have jumped to the simple and obvious comparison to the famous franchise of Twilight. While this is a justified and understandable analogy, there is a fragment of the movie that separates this post apocalyptic, modern day Romeo and Juliet from the shallow vampire films: the acting. Teresa Palmer and Nicholas Hoult prove to be far more talented thespians than some of their associated predecessors, and their chemistry far more convincing. Rob Corddry also brings a certain flare to his bit part that make his short lived time onscreen very memorable.
Overall, Warm Bodies is an enjoyable feature that won’t leave you scowling at the horrid acting and ludicrous, tween-driven plot when the credits roll. Director Levine managed to find the lighter side of the end of the world, and created a sense of hope in an otherwise bleak, grim, and cruel existence. If you’re looking for a feel good popcorn flick, then this movie will satisfy your demands. However, as an avid horror fan, I found R’s self aware mentality and arguably attractive appearance to be too preposterous for a rotting, brain-dead zombie.