The supernatural romance genre has made romantic leads out of vampires and werewolves, but not many have attempted to make the hero a Zombie. Based on the book of the same name by Issac Marion, Warm Bodies attempt to put the romance into the Zom-Com.
After the apocalypse years ago R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie who spends his days wandering around an abandoned airport and craving brains to eat. While he’s out hunting for food R comes across a pack of humans, one of whom Perry (Dave Franco) R attacks and kills. Eating his brain allows R to see Perry’s memories, including that of his girlfriend Julie (Teresa Palmer), who was also present at the attack. Suddenly R feels the need to protect Julie from the other zombies and takes her to safety. Slowly R starts to feel himself changing and developing feelings for Julie. However eating her boyfriend’s brains is the least of R’s problems.
Warm Bodies is a strange mix of romance, comedy and zombies. While not quite as good as the source novel for the most part it works well. Hints at a Romeo and Juliet style forbidden love is amusing, it even has its own version of the balcony scene. The movie’s main selling point is that it’s told from the point of view of the Zombie, with the film being narrated by R, who cannot remember anything about his former life - except his name probably began with an R.
R is a likeable zombie, conflicted over killing but cannot help himself with the craving for brains. Nicholas Hoult plays the part wonderfully, with a dry sense of humour as he narrates his new world. Seeing him slowly changing due to Julie is well done and the two actors sell their unlikely romance, although Julie is less well developed than R. R’s zombie friend M (Rob Corddry) and Julie’s pal Nora (Analeigh Tipton) also provide comic relief in their best friend roles.
I did feel a bit sorry for Dave Franco’s Perry who death doesn’t seem to blight Julie too much, and John Malkovich is wasted as Julie’s father. The film’s villains the boneys (skeletal zombies who have no trace of humanity whatsoever) are bad CGI and not very menacing.
That aside Warm Bodies is an optimistic and romantic movie for those who like their movies with humour, and a tiny bit of gore.