They say that the zombie craze is nearing its end. Soon our theaters will no longer be packed with people ready to see drooling, brain-eating monsters slathered with prosthetic blood. Shotguns will no longer ring out in defense of the world as ragtag survivors search for a cure.
If this is true, then it means that ‘Warm Bodies’ might be one of the last big zombie-movie productions. If so, then I’m a little sad.
The movie, based on the book by Isaac Marion, has a whole new take on zombies. Instead of throwing blood and guts at the audience, we’re treated to a quirky, humorous, and at times deeply thoughtful, movie.
The basic premise is that R, a zombie played by Nicholas Hoult, falls in love with Julie, a human survivor played by Teresa Palmer. He rescues her from a horde of other zombies, and the resulting events begin to restore R’s humanity.
At the same time their relationship affects the zombie population, bringing change to a world ravaged by the apocalypse.
At its heart the movie is a retelling of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ mixed with ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ only with zombies. Love redeems R and changes the way that the rest of the zombies see the world. At the same time the movie isn’t so saccharine that it would turn off the average movie-goer.
There’s plenty of action in the movie, but unlike other zombie movies the gore is kept down to a minimum. Shots to the head do generate blood, but not buckets and buckets of it, and people are eaten in cut scenes. The gore isn’t something that’s relied on for shock value, which is really rather refreshing for a zombie movie.
The use of music throughout the movie was good, especially since R has trouble stringing more than ten words together. His inner monologue solves this problem for viewers, but it does make communication difficult for him in the movie.
Whenever he tries to tell Julie something that takes more than his usual string of words, he uses a record player to play a song that he finds appropriate. The music selections were classic and appropriate, giving the film a strong soundtrack. Songs were used in other ways too, but most of them come back to the record player.
“Missing you” by John Waite was a particularly good selection, used when R first goes to the abandoned plane that he calls home and later when he sees Julie for the first time.
The movie did have its problems. While the make-up on the zombie actors were great, the CG on the Bonies, zombies that had fallen so far past decay that they scared the rest of the zombies, could get a little unbelievable at times.
Still, the Bonies served as good antagonists, ones that both the zombies and the humans were afraid of. They moved fast and it was difficult to take them down, which really notched up the tension in the audience. They also screamed rather than groaned, showing that they were more animalistic than the rest of the zombies.
So, if this is the tail end of the zombie craze, then I think that it might be going out just as people are getting inventive. At least it’s going out with a possible cure to a zombie apocalypse, rather than a total destruction of the world.