Warm Bodies (2013) – Film Review
Director: Jonathan Levine
Cast: John Malkovich, Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer
by Dan Berlinka
Given the huge success of books and films featuring romances between humans, vampires and werewolves, it was only a matter of time before that other great horror staple, the zombie, shuffled over for a post-mortem pick-up.
But while Warm Bodies, a semi-transposition of Romeo & Juliet to a post-apocalyptic Zombie-geddon, may indeed be catching the end of the Twilight wave, it does so with enough charm and wit to entertain a wider audience than the tween girls in its core demographic.
The tone is set immediately by lead zombie R’s dry voiceover. It quickly gets all the exposition out of the way while simultaneously establishing the intelligence on display. Not only by the undead narrator, but also by writer-director Jonathan Levine’s script (via Isaac Marion’s novel of course).
“Doesn’t ever get too cute or knowing”
Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer are a pretty adorable pair of star-crossed lovers. Hoult gives a largely physical yet restrained performance. It captures the awkward double-whammy of being both a teen and brain-eating reanimated corpse.
There’s excellent support from Rob Corddry and Analeigh Tipton. While the first half maybe drags a little at times, once the story kicks in properly, the blend of romance, comedy and action rattles along nicely. It doesn’t ever get too cute or knowing (I’m looking at you, Zombieland). And perhaps most impressively of all, the film feels complete in itself. Not like it’s the start of a trilogy or a new franchise. Although Marion has just released a prequel to the novel, and announced he’s writing a sequel, so that may yet change.
Solid fun for kids who are still the wrong side of a 15 rating. Plenty to enjoy for any parents who have to take them.