Warm Bodies, directed by Jonathan Levine, is based on Issac Marion’s novel of the same name. The movie is a “zom-rom-com,” or zombie romantic comedy, a new genre that promises something for everyone: zombie action, a love story, and comedy. The story actually becomes a twist on Romeo and Juliet (R=Romeo, Julie=Juliet, there’s a balcony scene, etc., etc.).
The movie is set in a post-zombie-apocalyptic world where the surviving humans live in a walled up city. The wall protects them from the zombies that roam around looking for humans to eat, and “bonies,” evil skeletons who have given up their souls. Nicholas Hoult plays R, a zombie who can’t remember who he is or why he is a zombie. All he knows is that he despises his fate and the fact that he can only shuffle around and mumble incoherently. Theresa Palmer plays Julie, the leader of the anti-zombie crusade’s daughter. R and Julie meet when he eats her boyfriend (oops). Oddly enough, R feels a connection with Julie and doesn’t try to hurt her; instead he brings her back to the zombies’ side of the wall. Naturally, R and Julie fall in love and have to fight against the forces that try to separate them: humans who want R dead, other zombies who want to eat Julie, and the bonies who just want to ruin everything for both the zombies and humans. R and Julie unite the opposing sides when their love begins to “cure” the zombies of their condition.
The premise may sound a bit cheesy, and it is. But somehow, it works. Zombie movies are supposed to be campy, that’s part of their charm. Any overly-cheesy moments are broken up by moments of comedy. R’s dry narration shows the zombies’ point of view, an aspect previously unseen in the zombie movie genre. R’s commentary coupled with his deadpan expression was a source of laughter throughout the movie. Levine also makes a statement on modern society, as flashback scenes show humans, faces buried in smartphones and laptops, shuffling about with familiarly zombie-like expressions on their faces.
There were a few things I didn’t like about the movie. First, I found Theresa Palmer’s acting to be a bit wooden. At times, I felt like the zombies showed more emotion and realism than she did. And for a zombie movie, there wasn’t a lot of action. I understand that this mostly a romantic comedy, but I think audiences would have appreciated a bit more zombie fighting. In the end, though, I really enjoyed the movie. It has something for everyone, and was honestly fun to watch.