Warm Bodies, 2013
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Wilson here. Mr. Struggan has a hefty dose of disdain for the type of rom-coms that roll out every year to capitalize on the emotional ups and downs of the Valentine’s Day ritual. It is for this reason that his interest was piqued by Warm Bodies, which seemed to him a very atypical early February release. He sent me to see it this week for a review ahead of the 14th to let you all know his thoughts.
Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer lead the film as R and Julie, the latter a young woman and member of the human resistance against a zombie apocalypse that has overrun the planet, the former a young zombie who falls in love with Julie during a feeding frenzy in which he eats her boyfriend. Vowing to protect her from his undead cohorts, R and Julie begin to discover a bond between them despite their differences, and ultimately unlock the key to the zombie cure (spoiler alert: the cure is love).
The story, adapted from a novel by Issac Marion, largely follows the story arc of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; two young people (or one young person and one young zombie) from two warring factions, thrust into an improbable love despite their differences. Added to this is a clever take on the typical zombie story, giving us a humanized protagonist in the midst of an existential crisis surrounding his droll routine as a zombie and his self-contempt at his need to satisfy his hunger for human flesh. The end result is a unique genre bender that, despite an oddball premise, delivers a fun and funny film with an authentic message about love and the human experience.
The film is not without its shortcomings, however. Hoult and Palmer carry the film with two very strong performances, but the rest of the cast is very one dimensional. This is somewhat the fault of bad pacing, where parts of the film could have used more breathing room to further develop the characters and their motivations. The film is still a very entertaining watch, especially for fans of the zombie genre, and provides breath of fresh air to the standard February fare.
Mr. Struggan sends his High Regards.