98 Min | Comedy – Horror – Romance | February 2013
IMDB Rating: 7.0
Director: Jonathan Levine
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich
Warm Bodies Review: Entering the new post-‘Twilight’ era, a few teen-romance-type films have been showing around St Valentine’s Day. ‘Beautiful Creatures’ is one, ‘Warm Bodies’ is another. Both films are essentially love stories and both have the same plot. Whilst ‘BC’ competes with ‘Twilight’ on a ‘I Married A Witch’ type of plot, ‘WB’ has a zombie theme. However it should be clearly stated that this is a teen-romance love-story not a zombie film. The zombie theme is there and provides the backdrop to the story. All the basic plot-lines of zombie films are there, but are cleverly subverted in this rom-com film. Like ‘BC’ Warm Bodies opens with a narration by the male lead. In ‘WB’, Nicholas Hoult, a tall thin lad, plays the male lead. As the credits roll, he explains that he is a zombie in a zombie-inhabited post-apocalypse world. This world is seen through his eyes throughout the film. Warm Bodies is his film and his world. At the start of the film the zombies appear rather like many stoned teenagers; they slouch about a lot, they wander aimlessly about with hunched shoulders.
By a quirk of fate, male lead encounters female lead played by Teresa Palmer. Fate throws them together as it did Richard Hanney and the girl in ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps’. Not handcuffed in the Highlands, but brought together, and hiding together, in this dangerous post-apocalyptic zombie-infested urban world. The result is the same. Male lead however, is a gawky youth, who struggles to impress the more vivacious girl. These scenes are played very naturally, the two leads play their roles well and convince in the reality of their relationship and the reality of their situation. The situation that is their reality, is the old story of love across the tracks. It becomes clear that this is a modern reworking of an old love story. It is blatantly so and Warm Bodies revels in it. The standard themes are there, circumstances seem to prevent a relationship, their worlds are so different and the gulf between them too big. Like ‘BC’ we have the complication of family. We just know that the girl’s father is not going to be accepting of this relationship.
Watch out for some scenes that are truly well filmed. The post-apocalypse suburbia is most impressive as are some of the swooping panoramic camera shots. No less impressive are the country scenes, the dream scenes and the gritty city scenes. Rated 12A in the UK, Warm Bodies, whilst not gore-filled, is surprisingly grim. Dining-out is of course part of the film, and the zombie chase scenes are quite scary. The trailer for Warm Bodies showed zombie fight scenes, and this reviewer was not impressed with those or looking forward to them. However, in Warm Bodies itself, the fight scenes were done well and fitted well. Having said all that however, Warm Bodies is a rom-com, and as such is entertaining and quietly funny. In boy-meets-girl romance stories it is very difficult to make a film that entertains, holds the tension, keeps you wondering if the romantic interest can grow into love, and how it will end, all the while maintaining, and not breaking, genre rules. Warm Bodies does all that perfectly, from the very start to the very end.