I’m dead inside. At the very least that is what this movie is attempting to tell me. In the realm of movie monsters the zombie has always been used to show how the few who are illuminated are somehow better than the rest who are uninvolved in this bright world around them. Some could say that we bloggers and critics who weekly decide it’s our duty (if you even qualify yourself into that hefty a category) to watch what’s offered to us by our local cinemas in order to be part of the bigger conversation of cinema to be the freed enlightened ones fighting off the infected ones which would be the crowd that went to see Battleship because the poster looked glossy. Just like that this movie places zombies in a realm of lifelessness only in the way they perceive life and the rest are just people waiting to be infected.
However, in the most unlikely of happenings Julie (Teresa Palmer) is saved during an attack by a pack of zombies by a most curious zombie, R (Nicholas Hoult), and begin the strangest of relationships that you can imagine.
I’ve described this movie in quick notation online as “what if John Hughes made a movie with zombies” and I truly believe this is the notion that the film is reaching for. The question I find requires answering more than it’s intent is whether it ends up hitting that mark, and I don’t believe it does.
Warm Bodies prescribes to the idea that there is hope yet for those soulless beings walking around aimlessly avoiding life as it were and that’s great. Some may even find it hard to grasp the main point of the film since it (other than an opening moment where R has a flashback during an internal monologue) never tries to reference it’s point often enough to make it heavy handed in saying that the enlightened need to reach out and the lifeless must give life a chance every once in a while.
As it pertains to the surface level comedy that is handed to us the film falls unusually flat for me. There are a lot of moments where I see how the filmmaker, Jonathan Levine (50/50 and The Wackness), is following the tried and true tropes of the generic romantic comedy and I’m supposed to find this funny because while it’s trite genre tightrope walking, it’s trite genre tightrope walking WITH A ZOMBIE!!! And that’s hysterical in itself. Instead however because the writing of the film was able to make me see R as less of a zombie and more of a person it didn’t really affect me that way but rather it made me just see a generic romantic comedy that serves true for people who want that kind of movie (and by the reactions in my crowd there will be a lot of fans of this movie).
I appreciate this movie for what it tries to accomplish on the subliminal discussing societal issues but can’t seem to get past it’s surface level problems that make me want it to be a completely different film on itself.