Review: Warm Bodies

PLOT: R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie, but that doesn’t mean that he’s a bad guy. Along with his best buddy, M (Rob Corddry)- or rather MMMMMM…, he spends his days wandering around the airport that’s home to the thousands of infected zombies, avoiding The Bonies- zombies that are even more far gone, and looking for human flesh to snack on (but, ya know- at least he feels conflicted about it). One day, he runs afoul of a group of humans, and immediately falls in love with the beautiful Julie (Teresa Palmer) – whose father, General Grigio (John Malkovich) is bent on destroying all zombies once and for all.

REVIEW: WARM BODIES is probably the first “cute” zombie movie. Sigh, it had to happen sooner or later. Vampires aren’t really scary anymore, and I guess the over-abundance of zombie movies regulates the undead to the same fate. It was probably inevitable to one day we’d get the first zombie romance, but are far as things go; it could be a whole lot worse.

Actually, in its own way, WARM BODIES is kinda great. Right from our introduction to R, with Hoult’s ever present stream of consciousness narration, its clear that R is your typical nice-guy hipster, who just happens to be dead- kinda like an undead Scott Pilgrim. After all, a zombie who relaxes after a long day of hunting humans by listening to John Waite’s “Missing You” on vinyl can be all bad, right? Hoult’s pretty perfect in the part. Ever since ABOUT A BOY, he’s made for a likable screen-presence, and he’s a super engaging lead. He seems to be having a lot of fun as the mostly undead R, grunting his way through most of the movie, with very little dialogue other than his v/o. Even when he starts to talk a bit, he never becomes too chatty, as after all- the guy’s dead, right?

If this is the “Romeo and Juliet” of zombie flicks, I guess that makes Teresa Palmer Juliet (or rather- Julie), and like Hoult- she’s one of those people you can’t help but like, no matter what the part (I even liked her in I AM NUMBER 4). She makes a sweet, likable love interest- not to mention the fact that she’s cute as hell, as I’m sure the sight of Teresa Palmer would be enough to make even the hungriest zombie’s heart start-up again.

Of course, every Romeo’s got to have a Mercutio, and Corddry as M (just like Hoult is R, get it?) fills the role nicely. He seems to be having a blast playing a zombie- but he’s also very effective later on in the film when he has a nice little subplot involving his own lingering humanity. Corddry’s a guy I’m always rooting for, and this is a perfect part for him. As for Malkovich, well, other than JONAH HEX, when hasn’t he been perfect? He’s great as Julie’s warrior dad, and he gives the part a nice, three-dimensionality it might not have had otherwise.

It really shouldn’t be a surprise that WARM BODIES is as good as it is, coming from Jonathan Levine, director of ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANY LANE (which the Weinstein Co., is still sitting on), THE WACKNESS and the excellent sleeper 50/50. Levine really knows how to make a fun, ninety-minute horror comedy and he keeps the energy going even when it’s just Palmer and Hoult doing things like listening to R’s vinyl collection. Speaking of which, the soundtrack is great, with tons of cool tracks including Guns n’ Roses “Civil War”, along with lots of hipster indie music to remind us this is from the same company that puts out TWILIGHT.

If indeed, this is going to be the “zombie TWILIGHT”, we could do a lot worse, as it’s about 1000x the film any of those were. I have no idea if the premise can sustain a franchise (although Issac Marion, who wrote the novel it’s based on has done a prequel, and is working on a sequel), but I really enjoyed this cutesy take on the zombie apocalypse. Of course, it’s not the least bit scary (this is a “light” PG-13) – but it’s pleasant. I know, I know- a “pleasant” zombie movie. Whodathunkit?

Review: Warm Bodies




About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.