The latest zombie themed “Warm Bodies” is an interesting and clever twist to the genre. The film is more of a romantic comedy with horror elements, rather than a straight horror film.
While there have been comedy films about zombies in the past, this is one of the first to tell the story from the view of the zombie. The pacing of the story, the dialogue and the music only add to the film.
The film is about a zombie called R (Nicholas Hoult, “X-Men: First Class”), who is still able to vaguely think and feel despite his situation. He comments early about how the zombie outbreak began before elaborating on his thoughts about his fellow zombies and himself. From there we are introduced to the closest person he has to a friend, fellow zombie M (Rob Corddry, “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”).
On a food run, R comes across a group of humans. After eating one of the male’s brains and taking his memories, he begins to fall for and save a girl named Julie (Teresa Palmer, “Love and Honor”). As R spends more time interacting with Julie, he starts to become a human again. The intensity picks up when the pair incounters more powerful zombies and Julie’s father Grigio (John Malkovich, Lines of Wellington), the leader of the remaining humans.
Hoult does well with his performance as R. Most of the film is narrated by his character and he delivers his lines in a way that make the character enjoyable and likeable. Outside of narrating, he sticks to the typical zombie archetype of little dialogue and stiff movement. As his character becomes more human, he is able to translate it into his performance gradually and effectively. Palmer has good chemistry with Hoult and their relationship is believable. Her reactions seem real and her performance stands out. Corddry is good as comic relief, but his character lacks real motivation, and his antics start to get stale as they repeat. Malkovich does well as the overbearing and protective father, but is very cliché, under motivated and does not really do much.
Several new concepts introduced in the movie revitalize the zombie genre. For example, the idea that zombies are not completely mindless gives new insight to these characters. This works well due to the comedic aspects of the film. Another innovation is the introduction of different stages of deterioration as a zombie. There are normal zombies that keep a human appearance and other zombies more reminiscent of walking skeletons.
Fans of romance and zombie films alike can enjoy the film. The comedy is good, but falls flat at several points. Some characters suffer from lack of motivation, but it does not deter from the plot too much. The new concepts introduced give new life to a genre that has not seen innovation in a long time. In the end, it is a good film that will not disappoint those who see it.