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  Warm Bodies Love The Dead
Year: 2013
Director: Jonathan Levine
Stars: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Analeigh Tipton, Rob Corddry, Dave Franco, John Malkovich, Cory Hardrict, Daniel Rindress-Kay, Vincent Leclerc, Clifford LeDuc Vaillancourt, Billie Calmeau, Adam Driscoll
Genre: Horror, Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: When the world went to Hell, he couldn't even remember his own name, nor why he had ended up wandering this airport terminal with a bunch of other people, hungry and confused. He could think up to a point, but not so far that he had control over his actions, which left him seeking the living to feast on their flesh, but as there were not too many of them left, most of his existence was taken up with the endless shuffling around the area, sometimes with a gang of the other famished. He had only one friend, but didn't know his name either, so what could R (Nicholas Hoult) do to break the monotony?

The zombie movie had come a long way by the time Warm Bodies was released, and by this point both independent no-budgeters and major studios were churning out productions featuring the flesh-eating undead, there was even a regular television series doing well in the ratings, and it seemed the bubble wasn't going to burst any time soon. This particular example might have been the final straw for the horror diehards, as it appeared to be a zombie romance that did for the subgenre what Twilight did for vampires, that was, neuter them, or at least defang them and make them blander for mass appeal.

To provide a lovey-dovey plot to what by tradition had been anything but, and put very little biting into as well, might have seemed a bastardisation of everything George A. Romero had stood for goddammit, but if you gave this a chance you would see it was a comedy variation on Romeo and Juliet, not a particularly funny one, but not as bad as it might have been because it took its central relationship seriously. There were stretches of this where you might be wondering where the jokes were, as aside from R's sardonic narration there wasn't much hilarity unless you were very easily pleased, but the soul of the story wasn't the laughs, it was the eternal dilemma of boys everywhere.

Which was, how do you get girls to like you when you know deep down you're a creep who smells of rotting corpses? Well, maybe that wasn't too universal, but for anyone who's ever felt awkward around that object of desire, Warm Bodies might well strike a chord, and it was this problem which the movie was orchestrated around. For R, it's more of an issue than for many, so the lovelorn could regard at him and think, well, at least I've never eaten anyone's brains. Which is what the zombie hero does to Perry (Dave Franco), who happens to be the boyfriend of Julie (Teresa Palmer), a living fighter against the undead menace who looks on in terror as R's instinct takes over and he munches on Perry's bonce.

Here's the new twist, as when a zombie consumes a brain they also envisage the victim's life highs and lows, and what do you know? R comes around to the idea that Julie is an attractive girl, and he thinks she's lovely and wants to protect her and all that manly stuff. Which he does after a fashion, leading her back to his aeroplane hideout where he can play her his vinyl collection, which sound suspiciously like the collection of someone far older, but hey, whatever they could get the soundtrack rights to. Somehow this makes Julie cotton onto the fact that R isn't like the other zombies, he's sensitive, and before you know it we're well on the way to a cure. Unless you're one of those too far gone walking cadavers, but they barely feature until the end. John Malkovich appeared as the gun-toting dad who objects to this union, possibly worrying about necrophilia, and Analeigh Tipton filled the best friend role for her, Rob Corddry for him. It was nice enough, but a little mild for a zombie apocalypse. Music by Marco Beltrami and Buck Saunders.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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