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REVIEW: 'Warm Bodies' is Much More Than Your Typical Zombie Fare

Jonathan Levine's latest film offers a charming, funny, dramatic, and intelligent take on the popular zombie genre

By: Jake Horowitz
Published: February 1st, 2013 in Culture » Film » Reviews
Nicholas Hault in 'Warm Bodies'

Zombie movie. Love story. Comedy. Horror. Completely perfect. What do these things have in common? They can all be used to describe director Jonathan Levine's newest film, Warm Bodies.

When Warm Bodies isn't being funny, it's being charming. When it's not being charming, it's being gory. When it's not being gory, it's being almost anything else. And yet, all of it is amazing. Starring Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Corddry, and John Malkovich, Warm Bodies is the rare genre mash up that actually works.

Warm Bodies is about a zombie named R that still has enough brains left to be self-aware. When he's off one day, stumbling around, attacking humans, and eating brains, he meets a girl named Julie and begins to fall in love. As he tries to keep her safe from his less than understanding (literally, they can't understand things) friends, R must cope with his new found feelings for Julie all while saving the world from extinction.

On a lot of levels, Warm Bodies shouldn't work as well as it does. It's nearly impossible to mix scenes of brains being eaten with clever dialogue and sympathetic characters, but Warm Bodies manages to do all that and more. As a comedy, it has some memorable and quotable lines that can make an audience erupt with laughter. As a zombie film, it injects new life into the genre by providing the first original take on the over-done story since 2009's Zombieland. As a romance story, Warm Bodies flips the tale of Romeo and Juliet on its head and gives us a completely believable relationship between a member of the walking dead and a human.

The success of Warm Bodies is all due to the immense talent in front of and behind the camera, as well as the author of the book the movie was based on, Isaac Marion. While Jonathan Levine crafted a film about zombies that was light, fun, and innocent, actors Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, and Rob Corddry brought an immense likability to their roles and helped to ground characters that, in two out of three cases, never said more than a few words. Though stumbling around and mumbling is not a flashy, Oscar-winning acting gig, it takes real skill to pull it off as a main character in a film and Nicholas Hoult does it perfectly here.

Another impressive feat of Warm Bodies is the immense scale that the film shows off. From abandoned airports and baseball stadiums to entire subdivisions under zombie siege, Warm Bodies manages to create a real, breathing post-apocalyptic world without the huge budget or bloated CGI that a similar movie would have. The scale helps to bring even more believability to the film and fully immerses the viewer into its world. Sure, most people walking around are dead, but that doesn't mean you're not going to have a fun time here.

Like director Jonathan Levine's previous feature, 50/50, Warm Bodies manages to blend genres and leave the viewer feeling completely satisfied and fully entertained. Though the idea of a zombie movie may evoke feelings of repetitive scenes of swarming and biting, Warm Bodies is charming, surprising, funny, scary, dramatic, and emotionally pure; often all at once. If you're looking for a film that will please even the most cynical of movie-goers, be sure to check out Warm Bodies when it opens in theatres today.

Related articles: Warm Bodies, Jonathan Levine, 50/50, Nicholas Hault, John Malkovitch, Teresa Palmer, Zombie
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