Warm Bodies

Twilight Zombies

A little while back, I reviewed Isaac Marion’s zombie romance novel, Warm Bodies. It has since made it to the big screen. And, for me, any time a zombie movie gets a theatrical release, it’s a big deal. My brother was less excited, and worried that going to see a girly romance movie with another dude would hurt his super-manly image or something. I was finally able to convince him to get out to the local multi-plex in what I think was Bodies’ final week in theaters. Turns out we were both glad we made it, because Warm Bodies was better than both of us expected.

I’m not going to recap the movie, as it stays pretty faithful to the book. You can read that review by clicking the link up in the first line of this review.

THE GOOD: This is one of those cases like The Running Man or The Bible where the movie is actually better than the book. The movie highlights the good stuff and cuts out some of the stuff that didn’t really work in the book. Gone are the Bonies’ church ceremonies, R’s zombie wife, and zombie kids in school. The movie does a better job of illustrating how the zombies are stuck in a state of limbo. They can either lose their humanity completely and become Bonies or try to recapture their humanity and start to feel again. A bit touchy-feely to be sure, but it really works on film. One could see it as a metaphor for survivors of trauma. When a person experiences a traumatic event, specifically when they’ve been harmed by another human being, they can choose to become cold and callous to the world, whether out of fear or anger, or they can take the risk of trusting people again, reaching out and making connections; living life. It’s not always obvious that you have a choice, especially if you’re numb to the world; like a zombie. It’s not until the zombies see R changing that they realize that they too, can change.

In addition, the actors in the film really do a nice job. Nicholas Hoult as R puts in a good performance, considering most of his dialogue is done in voiceover and his on screen acting consists of single syllables. Teresa Palmer (looking very much like a young Alicia Silverstone) is good as Julie; good enough to make the viewer overlook the fact that she is falling for a rotting corpse. The supporting cast really stands out though. Film veteran John Malkovich breathes life into a character that could really otherwise be a cardboard cut-out. Analeigh Tipton shines as the best friend and Rob Corddry steals almost every scene he’s in.

THE BAD: Julie is holed up in an airplane for days, yet her skin and hair look fantastic. How is that possible?! They could’ve mussed her up at least a little.

THE ZOMBIES: see Warm Bodies

VERDICT: I read the book and was still surprised with how good the movie turned out. It’s certainly different, but it stands up to the better calibre of zombie movies out there. I’m not sure how well it did in theaters and I’m not sure that I’ll want to see a host of “zombies in love” knock-offs pop up, but WB really deserves better than to be written off as the Twilight of zombie movies. If you didn’t see it in theaters, check it out when it comes to DVD. And watch it with your girlfriend! Grade: A

Current ZMN Rank: #4 out of 107

Golden Zombey Watch: WB may be all over the awards this year. My brother has already advocated for Corddry for Best Supporting Actor, though I might like Malkovich in that spot as well. WB may end up with contenders in every acting category as well as Outstanding Zombie. I’d look for it in Best Soundtrack as well, this is the first zombie movie that I know of to feature a Bruce Springsteen song.

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