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So I’m not necessarily a fan of zombies, but when you’re running late for Scary Movie 5 and the only other choice is Warm Bodies, you learn to love them! There is something about zombies that has become so interesting to society — perhaps the new fad after the vampire era that was Twilight?
I walked into the cinema not knowing what to expect: would it be an apocalyptic-type film with zombies roaming the Earth and killing humans?
Warm Bodies is the fourth feature from director Jonathan Levine. Like most films nowadays, it has been adapted from a book – in this case, the Isaac Marion novel published in 2010. It’s a more modern take on the zombie genre. People have begun calling the genre a “Rom Com Zom”.
The protagonist isn’t given a name, but simply goes by “R”, and he has forgotten everything about his past. Although audiences aren’t provided with insight as to why, they are expected to just accept it because, after all, he is a zombie.
In the beginning, the only form of communication he has is with his friend “M” at the airport bar. R calls the airport home, his belongings consisting of vinyl and other objects.
A human encounter occurs halfway through the film with R meeting Julie (Teresa Palmer) while on an eating frenzy with other zombies. It is a stereotypical moment of love at first sight — after he eats Julie’s boyfriend’s brain. They are a person and a corpse from different worlds fighting to be together — Romeo and Juliet-like. Also, notice the two main characters’ names: R and Julie.
The tone, charm, and the fact R would like to kill Julie’s boyfriend and eat his brain, makes the classic tale feel fresh.
R and Julie’s newfound love seems to be bringing R back to life, as he begins exhibiting human-like traits — like dreaming. They must convince other humans they have found a cure for the zombie nation. However, Julie’s father doesn’t see eye-to-eye with their young love. Consider Disney’s film Pocahontas, in which John Smith and Pocahontas must convince their families to unite, rather than start a war between races.
Zombies are traditionally used as a metaphor for society’s conformity. In Warm Bodies, the metaphor’s a bit more personal: R is a young man with feelings he can’t express (and dodgy personal hygiene), yet Julie can see beyond that and loves him for who he is inside. As subtext goes it’s pretty thin, but does get a few decent laughs.
Warm Bodies is a story with many different influences, and perhaps a “zombiefied” Shakespeare classic. There are moments of gore, but not enough to classify as a horror film. If you’re after a film that presents amazing, mind-stopping dialogue then Warm Bodies isn’t that; R can only grunt the occasional word or phrase. But, there is some good onscreen chemistry between Hoult and Palmer.
Although if you want to remain surprised, don’t look at the trailer: it shows all of the mind-blowing scenes from the film (which aren’t many!).