Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies (2013)
“Cold body. Warm heart.”
After the usual zombie apocalypse, humans have retreated into a big city, building a literal wall around themselves that will let no “corpse” in. Meanwhile R (Nicholas Hoult), a dead but still hot looking zombie, is hanging around at an abandoned airport, with his living dead buddies. His “life” is completely changed after meeting Julie (Teresa Palmer) a blonde young woman, appropriately named after the Shakespearian character, that he instantly falls in love with. Soon his feelings for her will translate into heartbeats, and you know who’ll eat anything with a heartbeat? Why, the “bonies” of course, basically evil zombies in their ‘final’ stage. Will R and Julie’s forbidden love stand the test of an overprotective father (John Malkovich) and creepy skeletons prancing around like horny monkeys? I think we all know the answer to that.
Jonathan Levine is one of the most interesting directors working today. Genre fans will know him from his awesome, but never to be released All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006). You also might have seen 50/50 and The Wackness. Warm Bodies is a very romantic film. A sweet love story, with a fun soundtrack, big feelings and emotions. Personally, I love Levine: He has a very unique voice. When I heard he was doing a mainstream film I was kind of surprised, but he pulls it off and still manages to bring his flavor to it (and reference Lucio Fulci’s cult film Zombi 2). Being a bit sentimental myself I have a tendency to gravitate towards these types of films.
The movie’s only cop-out is that, the zombies aren’t ultimately the bad guys, but the bonies, which is like having vegetarian vampires to make the real vampires the bad guys. Aside from that, I am not a fan of the more action-oriented scenes. It should just stick to horror, but in its defense they are necessary to the plot and mostly make sense.
The fact that zombies can see other people’s memories by eating their brains sure makes for some great scenes, where different film stock can be shown off (and I’m always in for that), but does it make sense from a “mythological” point of view? Speaking of the zombie folklore, fast and even talking zombies might put some people off. I thought that exploring a different side and potentially inventing new tropes was interesting and accepted it, but again some might refer to a commercial vampire franchise that turned its creatures into shiny boy toys.
Over all, very recommended. Especially if you’re looking for a fun take on zombie films; a sweet date movie or just enjoy Jonathan Levine’s work so far. It’s charming film that even non-horror fans can enjoy, it is PG-13 after all, although that doesn’t hurt the final product.
Rating on First Time Viewing
(on my laptop)
7.5 out of 10
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