Warm Bodies (15)
Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer and Analeigh Tipton
Running time: 98mins
Released on DVD & Blu-ray (UK): June 17
After the world falls under the weight of a full on zombie invasion the survivors lock themselves in walled cities, going out routinely for supplies etc, but when a zombie starts to fall for one of his prey, the balance of power begins to shift…
Dead Bodies is a missed opportunity. It really is. That’s not to say it’s terrible, it’s just not very good.
While it brings some new parts to the zombie mythology – the explanation of why they eat brains is a little fanciful and a nice idea but belongs firmly in the realms of guff. And it also sets up a kind of third group in the wake of a zombie apocalypse – the bonies. Creatures so aggressive that even the zombies fear them. And this is one of the few parts of this movie I actually really, well, liked.
Nicholas Hoult, star of X-Men: First Class, Skins and About A Boy, is lost at sea a little here (and is channeling Tom Cruise at an alarming rate) as a unique, lovelorn zombie ‘R’ who falls for the pretty human Teresa Palmer’s Julie.
But, while the premise is a gem of a set-up, the delivery is somewhat stale, floating uneasily between comedy and straight-faced horror, the movie is something of a game of two halves. Sadly the two are what could have been and what actually is.
There’s a mythology here that truly deserves better. I felt the same way about Will Smith’s movie Hancock a few years back – not a total disaster but a waste of a great idea and potential mythology that was begging to be explored.
The idea that there are creatures that zombies fear is a great one, and it’s not vampires or werewolves or any similar gothic horrors, but rather something that comes from the horror of a world where the walking dead are winning and makes sense. However, rather than truly explore this idea, these creatures become a plot device and little else.
Also, the reason why R begins to fall for Julie is the absolute meat and bones (sorry) of the story but it becomes nothing but the set-up for a half-assed loved story. And as for the SPOILER way his regrowing humanity spreads across the zombie community? Makes no sense at all. And I can’t help feeling this is something that was explored in Isaac Marion’s novel, it disappoints that here is is glazed over in such a non-commital way SPOILER ENDS.
Sadly, for anyone who thinks the premise is interesting – and it is – you’d be better looking for BBC Three’s drama In The Flesh as it’s a much more successful take on the concepts introduced here.
Warm Bodies is entertaining enough; there’s little to really hate. The leads are cute and John Malkovich’s performance is apt, the effects work is good, but ultimately, no matter what the scenario, a simple love story will always be just that.
It’s a movie that is happy to rest on its laurels, to simply be ok when it could have been a fresh bite out of an old story. OK to pass a couple of hours, but when there’s The Walking Dead and In The Flesh on TV, you can’t help feeling they were just aiming for the Twilight fans. Shame, really.