Warm Bodies (2013)


Eat it, Nicholas Sparks! No, literally: eat it.

R (Nicholas Hoult), is a lonely zombie who longs for more in life rather than eating brains of the humans he hunts down. Suddenly, he falls in love with a beautiful human survivor named Julie (Teresa Palmer), who he gains feelings for after he eats the brains of her boy-toy (Dave Franco). As their relationship deepens, he soon begins to act more and more human, but he’s not the only zombie who feels these same feelings and emotions.

Ever since the Walking Dead come onto the air, we’ve been getting this huge explosion of zombies. World War Z is coming out, zombie-costumes have been in high-demand every year for Halloween parties, and finally, George A. Romero seems to be getting the love and praise he’s deserved for so damn long. However, we only knew it was a matter of time until the teens started to latch-on to the latest craze, and give us what is essentially the Twilight film, of the zombie-genre. However, have no fear, as this movie doesn’t feature anybody named Bella, Jacob, or Edward. Score!

The trailer may have you fooled about this movie because it continues to advertise it as a rom-com, mixed with horror and action, but make no means: this is a romantic-comedy at it’s finest. The movie starts off slow and rugged, but not in the bad-way that you might suspect. It actually fits with the way the story is structured in how we follow R throughout his day as he rambles on and on about the inner-day livings of a regular, slowly-moving zombie, and listening to all of his quirky and zany pieces of insight, really work and make this movie stand-out among the rest of the zombie flicks I have seen recently. You have a sense that this movie is going to be more about characters, setting, and story, rather than blood, guts, action, and zombies. You do get some of the latter elements, but the first ones are here in full-effect and that’s all thanks to director Jonathan Levine.

Oh yeah, and points-off for stealing a page directly out of Shaun of the Dead. Come on now!
Like nobody in the past decade hasn’t already seen Shaun of the Dead. Come on now!

Levine takes the “indie-approach” here, and has this movie focus more on the relationship between R and Julie (if you haven’t been able to figure this out by now, it’s essentially Romeo & Juliet) which not only builds-up the interaction between these two different people, from two, completely different backgrounds, but also builds-up on what’s yet to come with what these two could possibly form, if the world ever gets back to normal. We get a real sense of the dynamic between the two as they interact through looking at R’s collectibles, jamming out to some choice tunes from Guns N’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen, and John Waite, amongst many others, and most importantly, getting to know one another through where questions of where they came from, how they got to where they are, and where the world could go if everything doesn’t turn to shit right away.

You really root for these two to be together and it almost feels like the movie actually does to, as it may even sound crazy in your head that you want a zombie and a human-being to be together, but it’s different than that. It’s more subdued, and more about building a relationship between two people and it just goes to show you that if you focus on characters, and are able to make their dialogue and development interesting enough to hold your interest, than almost any ridiculous plot can work. It may sound crazy but I think this simple tale of a love brewing between a zombie and a female, may actually be the Valentine’s Gift that you men may want to take your ladies out to see. Don’t expect any hanky-panky by the end of the night, but definitely do expect some sort of heavy-petting, cuddling, or tonsil hockey. I don’t know how exciting or titillating that may sound to you guys, but hey, it’s better than getting nothing on Valentine’s Day. Am I right, men? Huh? Huh?

However, in a cheap and lame-way of trying to make sure that all types of horny teenagers may go out and actually see this movie, they’ve slapped it with a PG-13-rating that is not only pretty soft, but also doesn’t allow it to get any edgier than it could have been. There is action that does happen here, but it’s very sparse and filmed in a way where you don’t see much blood, gore, or brains, but it’s also made in such a way that’s constantly bothersome, as if the movie knew that it had to appeal to a larger-audience so they decided to take it easy on the ketchup packets. I get that all movies try to go for that PG-13-rating so they can hopefully reach that audience where angst-ridden teenagers may hopefully want to venture out and see, in hopes of an easy lay that night, but then again, when you take the subject-matter into mind and realize that this is a ZOMBIE MOVIE where are talking about here: it does seem like an obvious, if not reasonable cash-grab. Hey, I guess Levine’s family has gotta eat, too.

Despite that d-bag problem us movie aficionados may have with the tame-approach, the movie still succeeds in giving us a relationship that is worth watching, believing in, and hoping actually survives by the time the 90-minutes is up. That’s all thanks to the charming leads: played by Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer. Ever since his days of paling around with Hugh Grant, Hoult has been on the verge of breaking-out and letting everybody know that yes, he has grown-up and yes, he is a good-looking lad now, but if A Single Man was his attempt at trying to persuade me, it didn’t quite work. However, Hoult shows me that I’m an idiot and have no clue what I’m talking about with his performance as R, the zombie who wants more than just eating brains and listening to vinyl records: he wants love, he wants a girl, he just wants life. Hoult doesn’t have to do or say much, considering that his character is a zombie and all (just a small-fact), but he still does a nice-job at giving R a loveable personality that’s easy to fall for, almost as much as Teresa Palmer’s character does.

I can bet you donuts-to-dollars that half of the people seeing this, will have no idea what movie that is.
I can bet you donuts-to-dollars that half of the people seeing this, will have no idea what movie that is.

Speaking of Palmer, she is great as Julie, the one-in-a-million, attractive girl that would actually for a thing that eats brains and hasn’t bathed for as long as the apocalypse started, but yet, still makes it all believable. She has a lot to work with in how she sees the world she used to know, where it’s gone, and how she can make herself happier in it, and even though it is a bit obvious that she would try to rebel against her powerful and control-hungry daddy, Palmer is still always a welcome-presence on-screen and the scenes with her and Hoult actually made me jealous, as it actually seemed like they were, in-fact, falling in love. Somebody hold J-Law down, because she may have a bone or two to pick with Ms. Teresa Palmer! Regardless of my jokey side-comments, Palmer and Hoult are great in this movie, whether they are together or not and make this movie work a lot more than it had any right to be. You know, being a zombie, rom-com coming out in the dead of Winter.

Rob Corddry shows-up as M, one of R’s fellow zombie-buddies that he occasionally grunts with, and seems like he’s having a ball with a role that would have and could have been played by anybody. Corddry actually gets a real chance to shine later-on when his character has some more dramatic-heights to jump-over and surprisingly: the guy excels in it. With this and the close-to-being-abysmal Butter, Corddry may have patched a new leaf for himself and hopefully, this shows us finer things to come for the man. Playing the “powerful and control-hungry daddy” that I spoke about earlier, is John Malkovich who, as always, is great at what he does and comes-off as a terrible and despicable man you just do not like, care for, or would never even trust running your society in a post-apocalyptic world, but shows more dimensions than that and has you actually fall for the guy. Yes, people, believe or not: there was a time when John Malkovich played nice characters, who did nice things for all of the rest of humanity and it’s a great thing to see him play that type-of-role, once again. It’s been too long, John. Please do stay.

Consensus: The PG-13-rating that’s supposed to please almost everyone and everybody, is what keeps Warm Bodies reaching the bar set-by other, fellow zombie movies out there, but it is still a pleasant rom-com, that has a twist you believe in, enjoy watching, and can actually, sort of relate to. Well, that is, unless you have never dated a chick in high-school. Hayoo!!

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

"Hey, you were that kid in About a Boy, weren't you?"
“Hey, you were that kid in About a Boy, weren’t you?”

P.S. Major, and I do mean MAJOR, props go out to Rodney from Fernby Films for the new header up-above. Hope you all like it and while you’re at it, go on over and give the guy a look. He’s got some solid material that is definitely worth a view or two.

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34 comments

  1. Nice review, but we seem to have watched different films. This was so generic and boring PLUS it didn’t even follow through on it’s own premise. Zombies reading About Kim Kardashian in Us Weekly? Meh! When they played that music montage while trying on sunglasses, I checked out.

    • Hahha damn man! I guess it was just two different people watching this thing then. Oh well, maybe we’ll get together and agree on something next time. Hopefully.

  2. That was risky. Comparing a movie you liked to the TWILIGHT franchise. However, on the flip side, that’s probably the reason I’ll check this out. If nothing but for a comparative look at the recent Zombie craze.

    Nice review dude.

  3. Great Review! After seeing a few snippets of trailers and posters, I kind of judged it, thinking its a corny rom-com. But after reading your review, I probably have changed my mind and may give it a chance!

  4. I was given a sneak preview of the book by the publishr, knowing film rights had been sold. I’ve been dying to see it ever since. I doubt the movie could live up to the book, and it looks like they’ve take a more comedic approach, but it still looks pretty good.

  5. Great review. You seemed to like this more than I did Dan. I enjoyed the chemistry between the characters and the actors playing them, but overall I felt this movie was incredibly unfunny. I think part of it has to do with what you’re saying about it being a tame PG-13 film, and another major piece to it is how it’s very specifically written for hipsters with its “indie” approach as you call it. I think people who see this zombie comedy and haven’t seen better ones like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland will find this to be a riot. I was also sad that they wasted someone like John Malkovich on such a throwaway character.

    • He is a bit of a wasted soul, but at least he gets to do more than I expected. I see what you’re saying though, Evan. Not amazing and made more for that hipper-crowd.

  6. […] “The PG-13-rating that’s supposed to please almost everyone and everybody, is what keeps Warm Bodies reaching the bar set-by other, fellow zombie movies out there, but it is still a pleasant rom-com, that has a twist you believe in, enjoy watching, and can actually, sort of relate to.” – Dan The Man’s Movie Reviews […]

  7. Good review Dan. Personally I am tired of zombie movies and vampire movies which seems like we’re getting more of every year so I’m really not that interested in this.

  8. Love the depth you go into with your reviews Dan. Cant wait to see this next week, it sucks that the UK get movies so late!

  9. Well if you haven’t heard yet, Warm Bodies made 8 million on opening day and closed the weekend out with 20 million. It would have never reached those heights if it had a solid rated R. But perhaps we will have an unrated or rated R blu-ray/DVD release. Heres hoping right? I see that we agreed with many of the same points. I hope it didn’t take you until the balcony scene to realize it was a a modern day retelling of Romeo and Juliet, that’s how long it took me. I’m not proud of that.

  10. Good review; I’ll probably catch this later at the house though.

    There was probably no way around this in order to make the relationship plausible, but it helps that R is a good looking zombie. Really more pale and veiny as opposed to decayed.

  11. I don’t really agree with your stance on the film’s rating here. I think that, given the lighthearted tone throughout, it would have been inappropriate to add in a bunch of unnecessary blood and guts that an R rating would allow. In fact, I think going for the gorey approach would have devalued the movie quite a bit, in my opinion, since it would have then become purely gore for the sake of it. It’s just not that kinda movie, and was never intended to be.

  12. This looks so cool! I’m probably going to go and see it Saturday – even though I’m not a zombie fan just looks really good, and dare I say, funny?

  13. I’ve read the book (and enjoyed it big time) but still haven’t had the chance to see the movie, will watch it later maybe. But i hope it does live up to with the book.. The book was really fun and hilarious though, i’m thinking this would be an epic movie..

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