Jonathan Levine’s “Warm Bodies” was able to creep its way into first place in the weekend box office competition for two reasons. First, it’s a romantic comedy that actually works. For those worried about the film being a “Twilight” knock-off with zombies, have no fear; at most, the film is a very clever re-working of “Romeo and Juliet.” Second, the movie takes the zombie genre where it has never traveled before: cheesy love.
Actor Nicholas Hoult steps out of his “X-Men: First Class” role as Beast and steps into the role of R, one of the living dead that roam the streets of post-apocalyptic America after an apparent zombie outbreak. One night, while attacking a group of survivors looking for medical supplies, R sees Julie, played by Teresa Palmer, and falls in love with her at first sight. Instead of trying to eat her brains, he saves her, and hides her in an empty 747 airplane where he lives. The more time he spends with her, the more human he becomes. And this cure begins to rub off on R’s fellow corpses.
The “Romeo and Juliet” theme becomes more apparent when Julie’s father, Gen. Grigio, played by John Malkovich, vows to have no mercy on corpses, despite the fact that the zombies are becoming more human. There’s even a tender balcony moment between the two “star-crossed lovers.” To make matters more complicated, the corpses discover that as they regain their heartbeat, they suddenly become at war with the “bonies:” skeletons that are more aggressive and much farther gone than the corpses, and will attack anything with a beating heart.
Much of the humor comes from R’s voice-over narration, and he captures the romantic problems that young adults tend to have quite well. If the humor starts to decrease later on in the movie, it is balanced out with the love story between R and Julie.
In short, this is the perfect date movie. Don’t walk in expecting this to be a horror movie; it’s a romantic comedy. People are so over vampires and werewolves. Zombies are the new black. “Warm Bodies” isn’t anything close to AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” Yet, the film won me over, thanks to a cute and interesting love story, and Hoult’s performance and looks will make women potentially question whether or not necrophilia is wrong. I give “Warm Bodies” seven out of ten.