February 15, 2013

Warm Bodies (2013)

"After R (a highly unusual zombie) saves Julie from an attack, the two form a relationship that sets in motion a sequence of events that might transform the entire lifeless world."

"Warm Bodies" feels like an unofficial sequel to George A. Romero's "Land of the Dead" (2005) but toned-down to a PG-13 rating for the "Twilight" crowd using a similarly romantic story. Apparently, it's based on a book by Isaac Marion. I probably don't need to tell you that I've never read it and probably never will do either.

Essentially, it's another "Romeo and Juliet" designed to cash in on the last dregs of the zombie craze which has already gone way beyond annoying. On the plus side, "Warm Bodies" is quite decently made and enjoyable enough to watch. The slow pace and teenage comedy will put a lot of people off this one though. Once again, it's not really a horror movie.

Everybody will be comparing "Warm Bodies" to "Twilight" so I might as well get those aspects out of the way. Yes, the lead zombie is English just like Robert Pattinson and even looks a bit like him from some angles. His name, "R", could even be an homage to Robert Pattinson if you are dumb enough to not push it all the way to it's Shakespearean predecessor. The girl is, by necessity, Julie in case you still don't get it. And just like "Romeo and Juliet", "Twilight", and every other love story, they fancy each other but can't be together because they are from different worlds... blah, blah, blah. I can't really complain about "Warm Bodies" too much given my status as one of the few "Twilight-friendly" horror bloggers, but I didn't really get a lot out of it.

Nicholas Hoult (Tony from "Skins") and Teresa Palmer (Vanessa from "The Grudge 2") are okay in their roles. There's nothing special to report about them one way or another. They look the part except that they are both too old to play teenagers now. I'm not sure if they are meant to be teenagers really though. I was going to bitch about them mumbling enough to be teenagers, but I now think that's intentional.

Rob Corddry as "M" (which turns out to stand for Marcus not Mercutio) has the best lines, but isn't very memorable. I have no idea what he's been in before although I'd guess it was a lot of TV shows along with the rest of the cast. Again, there's nothing wrong with his performance. It is what it is.

Hipsters who have never seen any other films starring John Malkovich will love that he is also in this for a couple of phoned-in minutes as Julie's father. He's a bit miscast and would be more appropriate as Julie's grandfather given his age, but then it wouldn't be so obviously a "Romeo and Juliet" knock-off as intended.

Ultimately, it's nice to see that Jonathan Levine has directed something again after "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" (2006), but "Warm Bodies" is a bit bland and very predictable. It looks nice, the "boney" zombies might scare small children, yet it's not an exciting "zombie gorefest" by any stretch of the imagination.

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