This may sound like an awful pun, but I had been *dying* to see Warm Bodies since I first saw the theatrical trailer debut during an episode of The Walking Dead a few months back. Many people had been making fun of the idea of a zombie love story and I had heard many remarks about this film being a “zombie Twilight.” Regardless of the comparisons, I knew that I had to see it. In fact, I became so obsessed with it, that I convinced myself I loved it before I even had a chance to see it. Usually this kind of behavior doesn’t bode well for films because you end up having such high expectations, that the actual movie itself can only be a disappointment. Fortunately, this was not the case with Warm Bodies.
Here goes a sentence I never imagined I would say in my entire lifetime: R is one hot zombie. Played by Nicholas Hoult, our main lovestruck member of the undead, goes by the name R (since he is unable to remember his real name), and he is a self aware zombie who seeks more out of, er… consciousness. He saves a beautiful human girl Julie (played by Teresa Palmer), from being eaten by his hoard of zombie friends by masking her in zombie blood so they would be unable to smell their potential meal, but only after first eating her boyfriend. Warm Bodies used one of my favorite zombie-isms, a factor which I first read about in Chris Roberson’s iZombie, in which a zombie is subjected to all of the memories of the human they’re devouring once they eat said human’s brains. The film, adapted from the young adult novel of the same name, written by Isaac Marion, puts a modern post-apocalyptic day spin on Romeo and Juliet (I mean, the main characters names are R and Julie, it doesn’t get more obvious than that). I mean think about it, a zombie and a human, it is the ultimate in forbidden romances. Besides the obvious theme of young love, the film also managed to be an inspiring piece about craving more from life, and doing whatever is necessary to achieve it. R is one ambitious zombie. He convinces Julie that it would be unsafe for her to leave his zombie confine for a few days because his zombie neighbors and friends would notice, allowing himself just enough time for his endearing groans and choppy sentences to charm Julie into loving him. As if the life barrier wasn’t enough, R’s next conflict is winning over Julie’s less than reasonable father. But that’s a whole other story. Another notable character is R’s best zombie friend M, played by Rob Corddry. M and R share a the most adorable zombie bromance.
As I may have mentioned earlier on Twitter, a major reason this film works so well is because it is so self aware. From noting ironic music choices, to R commentating on his hopes of not coming off as a creep because of his zombie stare, to an almost romantic scene in which R relays to Julie that, yes he must in fact eat people in order to survive. The film did a fantastic job of humanizing zombies which is something you don’t see in many zombie flicks despite the fact that zombies are just dead humans. Instead, the film’s characters demonize a different breed of zombies, called Bonies. Bonies are zombies who have completely given up. R describes them as eating anything with a heartbeat and not feeling bad about it. With their disgusting skeletal frame and lack of skin, the Bonies also gain the ability to run at some serious speed and focus on their potential targets.
Overall, I loved Warm Bodies so much, that I decided to pick up a copy of the book which is currently sitting on my bedside table just begging to be read (okay fine, I picked up the book a few days before I saw the movie because I was anticipating loving it so much, but it all worked out in the end!). If you’re interested in zombie films, star crossed lovers, young adult fiction, or simply entertaining self aware comedies in general, you should definitely check out Warm Bodies while it’s still in theaters. I cannot praise this film enough.
*Side Note: One of my instagram followers pointed out that Nicholas Hoult who plays R, also played Tony in the British television show Skins, and now I can finally stop wondering why I felt like I already knew and loved him before this role. Evidently, he also played the child in the move adaptation of Nick Hornby’s About a Boy. And Beast in X-Men: First Class!