Combining the same heart and quirkiness from the original novel, screenwriter and director Jonathan Levine creates an original supernatural romantic comedy with “Warm Bodies.” The heartfelt romance, inventive plot and superb acting connects to audiences beautifully.
The plot of “Warm Bodies” centers on a pair of star-crossed lovers, a zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult) and Julie (Teresa Palmer), a member of an uninfected human colony. The two groups are in a constant struggle for survival: The humans must leave their walled city to find supplies, and the zombies use these opportunities to hunt them down. In one such confrontation, R and a band of zombies ambush a group of humans, including Julie. Fighting ensues, and in the brawl something stirs in R, inspiring him to save Julie after she is disarmed. As the two grow closer, R begins to come back to life, and he is not the only one. As the duos’ human connection develops, zombies begin to revive.
The film’s leads are memorable for both their individual performances as well as for the believable connection they display on screen. Though their romance is based on an unlikely circumstance to say the least, the two put enough sincerity into their performances to still make them just as realistic as if they were two normal teens falling in love. Hoult gives a memorable zombie performance that stands out from other incarnations of the creature in movies and TV shows, still managing to give off just as chilling an effect as in any other living dead story.
The directing style of Levine is distinctive in its creative camera effects and style that fit perfectly with the quirkiness of the film. A large part of the general success Levine has with his directing stems from his use of nostalgic sepia cutaway segments for the film’s frequent flashbacks. The narrative storytelling structure, which involves the main character interrupting the story to comment to the audience, also enriches the film.
Most impressive is Levine’s own take on the zombies themselves. Unlike those from TV shows such as “The Walking Dead,” Levine’s zombies are still human in many aspects and possess emotional qualities that the audience can connect to. Even the makeup used for the creatures is much more human than what one might expect, with only minor paleness and a bit of rotting here and there.
The script, an adaptation of Isaac Morin’s novel of the same name, is quirky in all of the best ways and able to break free of the clichés that ruin other films in the same genre. Unlike other supernatural films, such as the “Twilight” saga, “Warm Bodies” never takes itself too seriously and avoids coming off as sappy. Though the film does suffer slightly from the limited comedic moments, its overarching love story is certainly strong enough to stand on its own.
With its originality and excellence, “Warm Bodies” helps break away from the clichéd and boring traditions of the supernatural film genre. Though at times it can move slowly and suffer from a lack of consistent humor, it is nonetheless a success as well as a must-see for all.
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Directed by Jonathan Levine, “Warm Bodies” surrounds a zombie (Nicholas Hoult) falls in love with a human (Teresa Palmer) during a zombie invasion.