The world of zombies is constantly evolving. Purists will remember the days of the slow, lumbering hoard, scary because of the enormous pack they traveled in. Stating with the movie “Zombieland”, the undead began to pick up the pace, now depicted as fast and ruthless killers. However, with the following movie, we see something new- their point of view.
“Warm Bodies,” starring Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer, tells the story of R, a sentient and morally conflicted member of the undead who’s been infected with the ambiguous zombie virus. R, played by Hoult, becomes drawn to Julie, a human living in a militaristic compound, after saving her from becoming an entrée. The movie shows his progression back to human and the ripple effect is has on both the living and kind-of-living.
Admittedly, I’m coming late to the party. “Warm Bodies” was released in February of 2013, back when I promptly dismissed it as a dull byproduct of the paranormal romance craze sweeping young adult media at the time. However, watching it now, I recognize the error of my ways.
“Warm Bodies” is funny. Like, extraordinarily so. I’ve always been a fan of dark and dry humor and this movie delivers. Much of the back story and initial character development is given as an internal monologue in R’s head. Dialogue comes slow at first, as he lacks in verbal eloquence. However, it is more than made up for by his sarcastic outlook on “life” and reliability.
One such example:
R (voice-over): Say something human, say something human
R: [grunts] hey
R (voice-over): Nailed it.
Even as a living teenager, I’ve experienced that moment of paralysis and panic when trying to thing of something (anything!) to say.
Teresa Palmer, the actress portraying Julie, also earns kudos- she plays her character with the perfect mix of curiosity and toughness, even when the writing lags and falls short. Julie’s almost automatic acceptance of R eating her ex-boyfriend, played by Dave Franco, can pull you out of the story and make suspending belief that much more difficult. However, Palmer keeps the character interesting and likable.
Overall, the movie has enough witty dialogue and character interactions to make it worth watching. Cinematic history? No. Perfect for date/fright night? Definitely.
Rating: 4/5 stars