When I heard director Jonathan Levine was spearheading the production of Warm Bodies, adapting Isaac Marion’s novel himself, it made me giddy. Here was the man who also brought us 50/50, the film I thought deserved 2011’s Best Picture honor. Levine is no stranger to the horror genre, his All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is one of the better horror movies you’ve never seen. But even Romeo and Juliet would be impressed with the star-crossed lovers in Warm Bodies.
R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie. He spends his days wandering airport terminals infested with his fellow undead, many of whom still spend their days at whatever tasks they had before the zombie outbreak. The rest of his free time is spent staring and grunting at best friend M (Rob Corddry) when they’re not slowly looking for food. Things take a drastic change when R chases down a collection of armed teens searching for medical supplies. After he kills Julie’s (Teresa Palmer) boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco), taking Perry’s brains to go, he saves Julie and leads her to his “home” inside an airplane.
Now R is keeping Julie safe until the others forget she was there. But M can’t help but wonder what’s going on inside the airplane thanks to the lights being on and sappy ’80s music blaring. Somehow, over the course of a few days, Julie begins to see that R is not like the other zombies. There’s still something special inside him. Julie also starts to make R’s heart beat, setting in motion a string of events that will change everything not just for the zombies, but for all mankind as well. Even if it goes against every bone in Julie’s father Grigio’s (John Malkovich) body.
People may balk over the fact that a zombie movie is only rated PG-13. But like Marion did with his novel, there’s more to it than a bunch of humans simply trying to survive another zombie apocalypse. There are some moments of gore, and yes, some brains are eaten which actually enables R to begin dreaming — something zombies never do, for obvious reasons. Writer/director Levine has set out to make the first zombie movie to make girls cry and has succeeded immensely. The sounds of ahhs were heard during the finale proving a job well done.
Hoult plays the soulful zombie fantastically and Palmer gives Julie more depth than other directors would have allowed, and most probably would have wanted to spend more time splattering the film with special effects. Corddry nearly steals the movie, which should come as no surprise, and AnaLeigh Lipton continues to show she’s more than just an America’s Next Top Model between her hilarious turns here and in Crazy, Stupid, Love. So while Warm Bodies may be getting released two weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, make sure you check it out this weekend and join R in taking a bite out of love.
Photos courtesy Summit Entertainment