Directed by Jonathan
Produced by David
Screenplay by Jonathan
Based on Warm Bodies by
Starring Nicholas Hoult
Studio Mandeville Films
Distributed by Summit Entertainment
Release date: February
January and February are a dumping ground and the zombie genre is
getting very played out. Sure, I watch The Walking Dead
every week and love zombie movies, but it's getting to the point that
it seems like only so many things can be done with a bunch of
sometimes slow, sometimes running rotting cannibals and desperate
group of survivors.
I suppose that's why Warm Bodies is such a
surprise... it's unexpected in its own goodness. To be honest, I
was kind of expecting a movie along the lines of Idle Hands
or something like that, instead, I got a take on the zombie genre that
was refreshing and original and a story that felt genuine and
I would chalk this up to low expectations, but that would only detract
away from the great movie that Warm Bodies actually is and I
wouldn't do that to this movie. Not for all the brains in China.
Taking the point of view of a zombie with a human inner monologue,
Warm Bodies is a story about disconnect and apathy disguised as a
movie about dead people rising and eating everyone. When a
zombie with no name (because he can't remember) becomes unexpectedly
interested in a survivor, he takes it upon himself to protect her from
the rest of his kin.
It's an awkward type of relationship... he's desperately trying to be
nice to her and she's suspicious, thinking that she's going to become
a midnight snack. Oh, there's also the problem that he ate her
former boyfriend too and you know that's going to cause some friction.
Warm Bodies isn't being done any favors by this summary, I
know, but that is the bare bones of the story. It's Beauty
and the Beast meets Romeo and Juliet meets Dawn of
the Dead. It shouldn't work, but it does and it does so
It could be that, in a story that seems to cry for slapstick and dick
jokes, Warm Bodies is surprisingly reserved. I was expecting at
least one quip about, "Oh, you want a zombie boyfriend? What if
his dick falls off?" but even that easy joke is left out. Hell,
it even makes a mockery of some of the easy conventions -- like when
"Pretty Woman" starts to play during a makeover scene. One of
the characters says to another at the radio, "Will you shut that off?"
"What?" she responds, "I thought it would be funny!"
That's one thing I loved about this movie: The clichés that you are
expecting never materialize. The easy jokes, the expected turns with
the militaristic characters, the hard revelations coming to light at
inopportune times... they just don't happen! Instead, everything
is handled realistically and organically. Characters behave like
people should, they talk like people should... you get a real sense
that these are actual people overcoming actual problems and not people
in a movie bowing to shitty writing and tired convention.
of that is fine and good, but the underlying metaphor of Warm
Bodies is too good to ignore -- it's all about the walls of
disconnect that we throw up around us. We have characters who
find themselves isolated, dehumanized, and without hope (on the edge
of something worse, if you will) becoming infected with hope -- the
anti-zombie plague. As I said, this is probably one of the most
unexpectedly fresh and original takes on the entire undead genre in a
very long time.
Nicholas Holt is terrific as R, the zombie in question. This
young man manages to carry a movie with only a few grunts and an
internal monologue for longer than most could. I really hope we
see more of this kid and I hope he manages to stay away from the
things you usually see one of those pretty boy types get saddled with.
Talent like his should not be wasted on it.
So, there you go... Warm Bodies is unexpectedly great,
unexpectedly deep, and unexpectedly human. It's the kind of
thing you usually don't get from a zombie movies, but if there's
anything I did learn from this particular film, it's that it's more
entertaining to get the unexpected. While I wouldn't
call Warm Bodies a game-changer for zombie movies, it's
definitely something new and something different from the same old
same old and I love it for it.