Zombie films have been around for as long as any other creature feature. Films such as ‘The Evil Dead’ and ‘Shaun of the Dead’ brought a breath of fresh air to the genre by introducing comedy to the mix, and now another layer is being added to the undead: romance. They’re calling it zom-romcom - and I gotta say, I like it. Between grunts, a single eyebrow raise and their excruciatingly slow shuffle walk in 'Warm Bodies', director Jonathan Levine’s (’50/50’) take on zombies, it’s not hard to see why one might find their cute and charming side... It certainly helps if you put a young and yummy Nicholas Hoult underneath all that white pancake, chapped lips and smoky eye make-up.
Meet Rrrrrr... Rrrrrrrrrr... We’ll just call him ‘R’ since that’s all he can remember of his pre-zombie apocalypse life. R kills time by shuffling around an abandoned airport with a couple other hundred or so zombies. They spend their days wandering, staring and having almost conversations until hunger takes over, and they very, very, very slowly make their way into the city. In the city centre, encircled by a large wall, lies the only remaining living population, headed by fanatical Zombie-hunter Grigio (John Malkovich).
When a supply scouting trip sends Julie (Teresa Palmer), Perry (Dave Franco) and Nora (Analeigh Tipton) beyond the walls, they encounter the group of ravenous undead. Shots are fired, brains are eaten and R spots the beautiful Julie - cue ‘Missing You’ by John Waite. The combination of R’s instant attraction to Julie coupled with him eating her boyfriend’s brains (thereby absorbing his memories) sets off a reaction that steadily reverses the zombie infection. I like to think of it as the ‘Grinch’ effect. Some might like to think of it as the classic ‘Beauty and the Beast’ tale for a 21st century zombie-loving audience.
After rescuing Julie, R takes her back to his home, a disused airplane. Here, they listen to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen on vinyl, speed down runways in sports cars and generally get to know each other a little better.
It’s quite a pleasant ride filled with gentle humour, romance and a hint of action.
The film, also written by Levine, is based on a seven-page short story and, well, it’s not hard to tell when you realise that nothing really happens in the film. Instead of the story being a series of events bringing about a beginning, a middle and über-climatic conclusion, it’s more of a character study looking at human reactions, perceptions and, of course, the power of love. A single event brings about a chain reaction, and we’re just there to sit back and watch it all unfold. Having said that, it’s quite a pleasant ride filled with gentle humour, romance and a hint of action, all shot and produced beautifully with an adorable, charming and engaging cast to lead the way.
'Warm Bodies' has heart, soul and laughs all wrapped together in one clever and unique package.