The zombies we know are scary brain-eating, human-hunting monsters. They don’t have any feelings or emotions; and they certainly don’t have any heart. But what if all of this was wrong? What if zombies were capable of thoughts and emotions? What if, there was a cure… Review of Warm Bodies after the jump.
R (Nicholas Hoult) is a regular zombie; well at least that’s how he appears. He spends his eternity shuffling around an abandoned airport. Sometimes R sits and “talks” with his best friend M (Rob Coddry), and other times he joins the zombie pack in search for food (humans) beyond the airport. Since the “zombie apocalypse” the humans live in a walled city, very fearful of the zombies. They only venture out to gather necessary supplies.
On one hunt for food, the zombies find a group of humans who are gathering medical supplies. R is hungry and wants food, but unlike the average zombie, he doesn’t actually want to kill humans. He’s lonely and he doesn’t really like this zombie gig. He kind of just wants a friend, and to be, you know…normal. There’s something about the beautiful blonde human (Julie, Teresa Palmer) which stops R from eating her. The other zombies are feeding, but he is fascinated.
Is there such thing as a “good zombie”? Even if R can convince one human that there is such a thing, could she then convince an entire population that what they believe to be true is in fact false?
Marketed as a “zom-rom-com”, this film is much more than that. It explores what it actually means to be human – what separates us from animals or from monsters. If we act like monsters, doesn’t that make us just as bad? In fact, doesn’t that make us worse? We have the power of choice; the monsters may not. Warm Bodies comes to the conclusion that what makes us different is our humanity – the ability to care, show compassion and to love; and that showing just a little humanity can be life-altering.
It’s hard to believe our hero, zombie R is Nicholas Hoult, the same actor who recently gave a lifeless performance as the hapless Jack in Jack the Giant Slayer. Hoult has more depth and range as a snail-paced zombie, than he did as a human character. We’re not supposed to feel sadness for a guy that eats brains, and yet the combination of Hoult’s fantastic performance and a well-written character makes it happen.
Rob Corddry is also great as M, R’s best friend. Despite their communication problem, the two say more with their eyes than many manage with words. Australian Teresa Palmer does a good job as Julie; and her and R have reasonable chemistry – a feat considering he is a corpse.
This was a fun film. It made fun of the genre through R’s narration and obvious displeasure with his situation. Along with the fun, there are also some heart-stopping action scenes and more than a few scares for faint-hearted folks (like myself). The bonies (the stage after zombie) were particularly menacing and added a real element of fear. In addition the fantastic and atmospheric original score and amusing use of pop songs added life to a film largely centered around the dead.
Warm Bodies asks you to take another look at who or what you consider to be a monster. All that may be needed, is a little humanity.
By Sam McCosh
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer(s): Jonathan Levine (screenplay); Isaac Marion (novel)
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich, Rob Corddry
Runtime: 98 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & New Zealand: April 11 2013; USA: February 1 2013