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January 17, 2014

Movie Review: Warm Bodies (2012)

Now I know what you all are saying. Probably screaming but whatevs. People are VERY particular about their zombies. They have to be slow; they can’t have any intelligence; they have to be fast; it has to be a chemical spill; it has to be a virus; it can’t  be funny; it HAS to be funny; etc. etc. etc.

Geez you folks are a bunch of fuss-buckets. Even those who can’t agree on most points in a zombie flick can probably agree on this: zombies don’t change and they can’t be romantic. I would almost agree with you but, as I am a girly girl from time to time, I do enjoy a good chick flick. And as a horror fanatic, I love me some zombies. Put those two together and you have Warm Bodies. I swear if I was still having my monthlies, this movie, with a giant tub of Edy’s ice cream and a bag of jalapeƱo chips, would be the salve to soothe the raging beast of my lady plumbing.

In a world that is almost entirely overrun with zombies, we meet R, a zombie whose inner monologue would suggest a higher level of intelligence than his grunting vocalizations. He shuffles through his daily routine, explaining to us how zombies work and think, how much of their memories are gone, and all that’s left behind are just the brain eating creatures. But one day, R sees the beautiful Julie, a living girl who is fighting with a handful of survivors for supplies. He saves her from his undead hunting party and brings her to his home: an abandoned airplane filled with trinkets and tchotchkes and remnants of the living world (one being an awesome record collection).

From this point on, things begin to change for R. He starts talking, feeling, his heart beats on and off. And it’s not just R. All the other zombies begin to change, too. And while this is wonderful for R and Julie, and possibly the rest of humanity (if they don’t shoot first and ask questions later), it draws the attention of the Boneys - zombies who have decayed so far they are nothing but skeletons in skin and there’s no hope for their shriveled brains to remember anything of their former humanity. All they do is kill and eat anything with a heartbeat.

Will R and the other zombies convince Julie’s dad, the leader of the remaining humans (John Malkovich, bitches) to work together?

I know a lot of people were almost angry when this film came out. And I can understand that. Zombies are one of those horror tropes that never fail to be terrifying (even in Return of the Living Dead). Zombies used to be us. Even in their most rotted and decayed states you can still see that they were once human. It’s because you can’t reason with them, they don’t need sleep, they feel no pain, the fact that they just keep coming that makes them such a formidable foe.

But you know what? I loved Warm Bodies. I didn’t mind the detour through Lovers Lane or the parallels to Romeo and Juliet.  I didn’t even mind the simple moral: love conquers all as long as you have hope. The Boneys had no hope and so couldn’t be saved. And they’re creepy as fuck. But the rest? They could change, they could grow, they could stop eating people’s brains and rejoin the living. Isn’t that what everyone wants to believe when their loved ones have turned

Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy) was fantastic as the love sick R. Rob Corddry (Children’s Hospital) was great as R’s best friend. Personally I enjoyed watching the zombies more than the people but then again, I always root for the monster, not the man. Malkovich’s performance seemed underwhelming for such a great actor but maybe that’s because he didn’t have much screen time. In fact, aside from Julia and her friend, Nora, the Living were pretty boring.

The soundtrack was sweet (Rock YOU, Scorpions!). I do love good music you can rot to. I’ve never seen any of the movies Jonathan Levine directed before (50/50, The Wackness) but I plan to now because I think he did a terrific job with Warm Bodies. 

I plan to add this movie to my stash and watch it again and again.

4 Hatchets (out of 5)

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