Warm Bodies (2013)

It’s not everyday you get to combine the terms ‘horror’ and ‘romantic comedy’, so at first glance, I was a little hesitant when I sat down to Warm Bodies. I am a huge fan of director Jonathan Levine’s beautiful 50/50, and I hoped we’d see more of his unique quirkiness. It should be stated early on that Warm Bodies is not a horror film. It’s simply a romantic comedy with zombies. If you’ve read the book, you will know this. That being said though, I actually found it quite endearing.

Warm Bodies follows the story of ‘R’, played by Nicholas Hoult (Skins, X Men: First Class) and his quest for purpose in the aftermath of a world ravaged by the zombie apocalypse. R is no ordinary zombie though. He has a growing intelligence and self awareness, and wants nothing more than to find out why he’s here. It’s at this point, in a chance encounter, he meets Teresa Palmer’s (I am Number Four, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) Julie, and feels something he’s not felt before; love. This sounds sappy as hell (and at some points, it really is), but it does work to some extent.

In terms of the performances, Hoult is great. It’s a very hard thing to make a zombie have a personality, but he does it fantastically, demonstrating great evolution of a character. Hoult is firmly cementing himself in Hollywood as a real contender and it’s great to see even more English talent breaking through.

Sadly, the same cannot be said of Palmer. Though she does have her moments, I found her performance predominantly emotionless and vacuous, and found myself sadly comparing such a performance to a certain Twilight actress who we need not name.

Again sadly, I was truly unimpressed with John Malkovich’s character. He played it too cold, and for me, it just didn’t work.

The real show stealer though, came from Rob Corddry’s (Hot Tub Time Machine, Community) ‘M’. Best friend to R, he’s always there at the most apt time; always saving the day, filling those awkward moments with great one liners (for a zombie).

The pace of the film is fairly steady, and it won’t take a genius to work out the real story, and what it’s based on. Mix in that quirky soundtrack we’ve come to expect from Levine, and you’ve got a film that I enjoyed, but that frustrated me immensely at the same time.

Warm Bodies is definitely worth a watch. It’s fun, evenly paced, and a great take on a classic story. For me however, I would have liked to have seen more of the horror that was promised in the blurb and the trailer. The unforgettable problem with this film is the casting. To cast such a weak actress to stand shoulder to shoulder with an actor being taken more and more seriously was folly. She is carried by Hoult throughout the entire film. Add to this a rare weak performance by Malkovich, and you’re sadly left with a film that was good, but could really have been great.

Make no mistake though, this is 90% romantic comedy, 10% horror.

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

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