As vampires became synonymous with sparkles and werewolves became equated with shape shifting Native Americans, it was only a matter of time before another traditional monster got a pop culture upgrade.
Directed by Jonathan Levine and based on Issac Marion’s novel, the 2013 film Warm Bodies provides our generation with another classic Halloween monster to fawn over. With wit and humor, the movie offers a refreshing revival for zombie apocalypses and chick-flicks alike.
Nicholas Hoult plays R, a sentimental and reflective zombie protagonist who falls in love with a human girl. His acting was effective; he perfected the zombie walk and delivered flawless voice overs representing his thoughts, which, amid the short zombie groans, constituted most of the dialogue.
Simultaneously, Teresa Palmer fulfills her role as the terror-stricken but strong-willed human girl, Julie. Her performance was generic, and harsher critics may say that she did not immerse herself in Julie as much as Hoult did with R.
Warm Bodies lacks the gore found in most zombie movies, and those who come in expecting intense action will be disappointed.
The movie isn’t full of fight sequences or zombie attacks, and the few included look low-budget and cheap. The “Bonies,” zombies who have essentially turned into warped skeletons, are the worst offenders. However, the painstakingly detailed scenery, actors, and extras blend right in with the situation, helping to create the somber yet playful tone of the story.
The zombies aren’t the frightening, bloody creatures found on shows like The Walking Dead, but are somehow more reserved, making the movie’s premise more believable. The concept of zombies turning back into humans is different and interesting, and it helps R be a relatable protagonist.
R’s scenes with Julie have the same awkwardness usually present in teen crushes, and will surely delight young audiences. Of course, Julie’s father, played by John Malkovich, disapproves of her relationship with R. The film’s Romeo and Juliet plot line is certainly cliched, but the deadpan humor definitely separates it from other romantic comedies. The romance is innocent and lighthearted, creating a fun escape for viewers.
The film did not fulfill its potential to present something more than “zombie falls in love with girl” story but still worked as a romance. Some of the scenes between zombies can be hard to watch, as the dialogue consists almost entirely of grunted-out phrases. Action-wise, some parts of the film lagged, although there was a clear attempt at a buildup towards a dramatic conclusion. There was no clever, innovative surprise ending. The movie is simple and sincere, but also easily forgettable.
Nevertheless, Warm Bodies proves itself to be everything that it promises.
Zombies stalk abandoned streets in search for prey while humans box themselves behind cement walls. And amid the chaos for survival, love changes everything again. The film will entertain, amuse, and start the hearts of audiences, if only briefly.