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Just in time for Valentine’s Day audiences, Hollywood releases a zombie love story. You knew, after the success of the vampire-human romance in “Twilight” and the popularity of zombies, it was coming.
“Warm Bodies” is the story of a young zombie, R, who falls in love with a human, Julie. If the names R and Julie make you think of another pair of star-crossed lovers, that was the film’s intention. There’s even a balcony scene thrown in the midst of zombie madness.
R is a conflicted zombie who sees his life as a necessity and not how he wants to live. During a visit to town to find a food source — which for zombies is a human — he runs across Julie and her friends trying to find medicine to take back to the humans’ fortification. R spots Julie and, after eating her boyfriend’s brains, decides to rescue her from the other zombies.
Through their friendship and possible romance, R’s feelings for Julie not only begin to change him but also the zombies around him.
I have to hand it to this film. It is something “Twilight” is not, and that’s smart.
The morbid humor and inward thoughts of the living dead give a fresh approach to the zombie genre. The zombie is humanized — as much as the undead can be — and R’s internal commentary is a humorous view of what it’s like to be a zombie.
Zombies want to communicate, but all they can manage is a grunt or moan. They also would like to move faster, but the slow pace of their zombie walk makes it impossible.
The movie also does not take itself too seriously. It’s a zombie love story, so it’s not meant to make viewers swoon. It’s meant to make audience members laugh and think about getting along with humans, or zombies, who might seem a little different.
It is a little gross in parts with all the brain eating, but no where near the amount of gore found in television’s “The Walking Dead.”
The film stars Nicholas Hoult, a British actor on Hollywood’s radar. As a young actor, he starred alongside Hugh Grant in the comedy “About a Boy.” Recently he has been seen as Beast in “X-Men: First Class” and later this spring he will star in “Jack the Giant Slayer.”
Hoult’s performance as the conflicted zombie is spot on. In a recent talk show interview, he said he decided his character would not blink because he didn’t think the dead would need to blink. Not long in, he realized how difficult that would be but already committed to it and tried to stay wide-eyed throughout shooting.
His love interest in the film, Julie, is played by Teresa Palmer (“I Am Number Four”) and her militant father is played by John Malkovich (“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”).
This movie doesn’t rise to greatness by any means, but it does what it sets out to do. It’s a smart, funny zombie love story.