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Film review: “Warm Bodies”

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Photo: Summit Entertainment

WARM BODIES

JONATHAN LEVINE

STARRING: NICHOLAS HOULT, TERESA PALMER

Published on Yahoo!7 Entertainment’s The Hype on April 18, 2013

Presenting a fresh take on the macabre zombie genre, “Warm Bodies” promises laughs, action and romance all in one human-friendly undead package.

Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies tells the enchanting, yet action-packed cinematic tale of two people (okay, one zombie, one human) who become the most unlikely of matches made in zombie apocalypse heaven.

Brit Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy, Skins) is the knight in a not-so-shiny red hoodie who rescues Australian-born Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four) in a modern romantic twist loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The film begins with R (Hoult) wandering through an airport, surrounded by other members of the undead. His voiceover echoes, “What am I doing with my life? I’m so pale. I should get out more… why can’t I connect with people? Oh, right, it’s because I’m dead…”

R’s internal monologues throughout the film help the audience develop empathy with the zombie, just as Julie (Palmer) eventually does. In the space of 97 minutes, R goes from having “almost conversations” with his best friend, a middle-aged fellow zombie called M, to trying his hand at human activities like using a record player and driving a car, and fostering very human feelings towards the completely-mortal Julie.

This hopelessly romantic notion, paired with light touches of humour here and there thanks to Julie’s uninhibited best friend Nora (Analeigh Tipton, Crazy, Stupid, Love.) and Hoult’s ability to communicate human emotions in a non-human shell, results in a winning combination to flatten any half-hearted comparisons to the Twilight saga (though Palmer does look noticeably like Kristen Stewart, but with decent acting chops and variable facial expressions).

You’d be forgiven for believing that the majority of the film’s $35 million budget must have gone towards zombie makeup and special effects rather than wardrobe, because Hoult remains quite comfortably in his continuously-dirtying hoodie-and-jeans attire for the majority of the movie. There’s also enough brains, CGI skeletons, blood and guns for this to be a suitable date flick, and not just enjoyable for the girl, who probably only anticipated seeing Nicholas Hoult anyway.

Overall, Warm Bodies is a well-directed, touching film about the power of human connection. It won’t change the world but you’ll leave the cinema with feel-good vibes, relieved that there actually aren’t any decaying zombies lurking around… or are there?

In cinemas April 11.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 1/2

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